January 5, 1947 – April 24, 2015
My sweet mom has gone into the arms of Jesus.
Maybe you follow along my life adventures on Instagram or Facebook, but for those that just read along here, I wanted to give you a quick update. Our lives exploded two weeks ago, when my father & I had to take my mom into the ER because of severe, unbearable pain in her back (a new area where her cancer had spread). After a very long night in the ER, she was admitted to an Intensive Palliative Care Unit and remains there now. Her condition has declined dramatically since then. It has turned our world upside down, to say the least.
By the time November 30th rolled around, Tina and I were pretty excited to finally get our heads shaved! Here’s a bunch of pictures of the event. Special thanks to my dad for documenting it for us and to the lovely gals at Pin-Ups Hair Shoppe in Bowness for doing the actual head shaving!
I went first (much to Tina’s relief):
Next up was Tina:
All done (that’s my mom in the pic on the right, who inspired this whole journey):
Thanks again to all those who donated to our fundraising campaign for the Alberta Cancer Foundation & the Tom Baker Cancer Center! What an amazing experience, mainly due to all the support we encountered through the month!
It was with a heavy heart that we discovered in September that my mom’s cancer was still present, even after months of chemo last year. And it is still spreading. She has an uncommon form of endometrial cancer called uterine serous carcinoma. It is already far along at Stage III.
On Oct. 29th she started another round of chemotherapy, with a different drug. It’s hard to know how this whole situation will go. Will she become quite sick from the treatment? Will the chemo slow the spread? Will it eradicate the cancer? How long will this go on for? So many questions, and no real clear answers.
Another question that comes to mind is, what else can we be doing to help? Specifically, what can “I” do? I pondered this quite a bit and there are lots of ways I can support my mom during this time, but one new thing popped into my head this time around. It came quite clearly and confidently to me, as I sat rocking my baby boy one night. It was one of those rare moments when you have a sudden thought and know in an instance, deep down that is exactly what you should & will do.
I’m going to shave my head. I will go from long flowy locks to buzz cut in an effort to raise funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation & the Tom Baker Cancer Centre. Honestly, it’s such a simple act. Give up something for a time. Not forever, because it will grow back. I’m blessed to be able to make the choice when so many others don’t get to decide whether or not they will lose their hair, including my mom. It’s an inconvenience for me (since we’re headed into winter), but the symbolic support it offers seems greater than all that.
So come the end of November, I will shave my head (along side my most wonderful sister-in-law Tina). To mom, with love.
If you would like to donate to this fundraiser, click here. Every little bit helps us all. You could also help by keeping my mom, Jan, in your prayers in the coming weeks. Thank you for your support!
Wayyyyy back to the beginning. Well not THE beginning, but my beginning. At some very young age I discovered sewing. Of course, I’d probably been watching my mom sew since the day I was born, propped up in a little seat while my mom sat at the kitchen table with her sewing machine. The kitchen was the first sewing “space” that my mom had in the house. She found a more permanent home for her sewing space in the downstairs hallway, once my dad developed the basement more fully. Many years later, my mom was finally able to take over one of the bedrooms and convert it into her sewing room, once my oldest brother left the nest. That room was still in the basement though, so it wasn’t until the day that my brother Aaron and I moved out together (eeek, the last two children leaving in one go) that my mom finally claimed a sunny room upstairs to sit and surround herself with her ever growing fabric stash. And there she sits today, in front of the sewing machine, creating the most lovely things.
It’s simply no wonder at all, that I too have the sewing bug. Not as some fleeting hobby that will eventually be replaced by another, but as a way of life. That seems like a rather serious statement, but it’s true. Sure there have been periods of my life where the sewing machine was left untouched for a time, but I always came back to it and generally with a renewed love for sewing.
I recently asked my mom what she thought one of my earliest sewing projects were and wondered if they were still lingering around. We both thought of a small wall hanging quilt that remains hanging in that basement hallway where my mom’s sewing room used to be. It’s probably one of the earliest examples of my own sewing and quilting. A project where my mom helped a great deal, but I was at least able to use the sewing machine on my own (sorry I don’t have a photo of it to share here).
However, the other day, my mom pulled out what is undeniably one of my earliest sewing projects. A rather ugly square of scrap fabrics sewn randomly. I admit, it has some charm, knowing that it’s so very old and I was so very young. My mom said that she used to sit me on her lap and let me choose bits of fabrics from the pile of scraps. Then I would plop them down on the square she had prepared and she would control the sewing machine pedal. Some moms might be cringing at the thought of having small hands near that sewing machine needle, but all ten of my digits survived just fine, thank you very much.
Last weekend my mom and I were at a friend’s baby shower. Our gift was a gorgeous baby quilt that my mom and I collaborated on. I picked the colours and fabrics and she did all the beautiful piecing. Doesn’t that sound familiar? I also gave my friend some baby bibs that I had recently sewn and seeing the quilt and bibs, someone at the shower said, “I see where you get your sewing talent from.” And I couldn’t agree more.
In light of some recent news, it seems very important to acknowledge just how much my mom has influenced my life. I’m so grateful for all that she has taught me and continues to teach me. I still know where to go when I need help and not just sewing help. I can’t imagine our lives without the bond of sewing between us and that is a gift we can both give thanks for. I can only hope and pray that one day my mom will have the opportunity to teach all these many things to her grandchildren. It would bring nothing but joy to see her with a little one in her lap again in front of the sewing machine.
So thank you mom, for teaching me how to put all one’s love into bits of sewn fabric, how to hold my life together with colourful threads, and adorn the best days with buttons.