Mar 1, 2013 1:36am

When I had just completed my final year of high school my mother had a stroke, or so it at first appeared. We eventually found out that this seizure was related to a terminal brain cancer which took her life 11 months later, when she was just 39 years old. The entire process was very harrowing and has left a mark on my clan to this day. Certainly it has left a mark on ME to this day; it fills me with sadness to even think about it. That a woman so young should die, leaving behind a husband and 6 kids, including an 11 month old baby, seemed so unfair that I was angry about it for some quite some time.

But one of the incredible qualities that my mother possessed was that she herself never ever got bitter about what had befallen her. Despite the overwhelming number of afflictions that beset her last days, and they mounted one by one as time wore on, she never gave in to anger, or to “why me” bitterness. I do not remember her ever getting angry at god or fate or anyone else either. This attitude made a huge impression on me at the time, though I was incapable of adopting it for myself.

Now that I’ve had a stroke of my own, I am even more amazed at the grace that my mother managed to bring to her plight. Her situation was infinitely worse than mine, with many complications; epileptic seizures and severe burns down one side, and of course the brain cancer, which thankfully I don’t have, (they checked). I am left wondering more than ever how she bore her burdens so well.

I think the answer is that she tried to make the most of the time that was left to her, to spend as much time as she could with her family. Time much too precious to be wasted on bitterness. All these many years later her attitude is even more of an inspiration to me.

When I consider my situation, sometimes it is tempting to give in to self pity, frustration or depression, or to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task before me. But I must remind myself that such feelings would be a waste of time and make a difficult situation even harder to bear, both for me and the people close to me.

I have a lot of rehabilitation to do before I am even close to getting back to normal but I hope that I manage to push through it all with a portion of the wisdom, courage and good grace that my dear mother once showed me.

21 thoughts on “Mum”

  1. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. I prescribe to you to take a dose of laughter every 30 minutes with a side of chuckles.
    — Charlene Kelley, March 1, 2013

  2. Dear Boy
    Good on you my dear son. You have expressed with great eloquence and great accuracy the serene strength , dignity, and high courage (truly grace under pressure, as somebody’s definition has it; and enormous pressure in her case, as you have conveyed) with which dear Mum coped with her multifarious ordeals. It was agony for us all, but she helped us through it right enough. Allow me to congratulate you on the display in yourself of a large chunk of the greatness of heart and soul that Mum showed back then, in the way you have been able to take inspiration and strength from the memories that you and I and your siblings share of her now.

    With much pride and love, and best wishes for your continued recuperation, dear Jamie, Dad
    — Rob Baker, March 1, 2013

  3. Hi there James. As I have said before, I feel your mum is very much around you through all this, and now I can truly feel her smile as you are “getting it”. Loving and caring for someone doesn’t stop after we cross over.Yes you have a long road to travel to become the person you are meant to be as it were ( I prefer not to use the word ‘normal’), and I feel your mum will very much be with you along that road.You carry her inside you always in your heart as well as your genes, and it seems to me that you are dealing with this experience with as much courage and humour and grace as it sounds your mum did, in your own inimitable way.Some of that road may be hard, some magically happy, some days you may feel as if you haven’t achieved anything, some days things will seem easier, and most of the days you are writing your own story. I love hearing this story.Keep going, you are doing so very well, my friend.:0)
    — Janine Dawson, March 1, 2013

  4. She was a special lady jimmy and you’re a special bloke. All power to you.
    PS: we’ve got cartoons to make, so get back to work!
    — Deane Taylor, March 1, 2013

  5. Jamie,
    Thanks for sharing that. Your mother sounds amazing and courageous. I have been and impressed by you and Julia both through this whole thing.
    It is impossible to know someone going through something like this without asking one’s self how you might do in a similar situation. Sounds like your mother was able to provide an amazing example of bravery for you to follow. And you are providing that for others. I know you are for me. You both are.
    Thanks again for sharing this. — Brian
    — Brian McDonald, March 1, 2013

  6. Good Morning Jamie, Thanks for posting such a loving and thoughtful tribute to your mom. Ah, you’ve got a great role model to go by there… among the many I sense you’re surrounded with. May your AC/DC/Pilates regimen continue to bear fruit, and alarm your neighbors. I wonder… would Speed Metal accelerate recovery? Carry on!
    — Bill Cone, March 1, 2013

  7. Your Mother lives on in you Jamie.
    And on ‘the upside’ – your writing is better than ever. Yer devoted pal,
    — Scott Tolmie, March 1, 2013

  8. Jamie!
    I’m so glad you are seeing your situation in the most positive way, and using your memory of your mother for inspiration — it choked me up. Always stay positive and smile everyday!

    — Steward Lee, March 1, 2013

  9. You are a true inspiration. Keep up the good fight, we are rooting for you! Sergio
    — Sergio Paez, March 1, 2013

  10. Hello gorgeous! wonderful journal entry about your mum. She must have been a truly amazing person. Obviously, in your case, the fruit did not fall so far from the tree. You’re a bloody inspiration in yourself, you old mucker.
    Anyways, I saw this and thought you might enjoy it. Hope you do.
    Huge amounts of love from me and Johnny and the girls.xxxxxxxCarol
    — Carol Hughes, March 1, 2013

  11. Jamie! We were so utterly floored to hear about what happened, been sitting here for a good chunk o’ time reading about your experiences, which pretty much floored us all over again (the entry about your mum is deeply moving). Everything I want to say sounds so utterly trite that I annoy myself just thinking them, but the healing powers of love are wildly powerful and clearly you’re surrounded by a *giant throbbing mass* of loving friends and family. (Also, I think pie is incredibly restorative, so I recommend a lot of pie.)
    — Isabel Samaras, March 1, 2013

  12. Dearest Jamie when i read your post MUM it reminded me of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet on Joy and Sorrow. So i thought i would post.

    love from all the hauges to you and Juliaxxx

    THEN a women said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow,And he answered:Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.And how else can it be?The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?And is not the lute that soothes your spirit the very wood that was hollowed with knives?When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

    Some of you say ‘Joy is greater than sorrow.’ and others say, ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater,’But I say unto you, they are inseparable.Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
    Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
    — Lisa Hauge, March 3, 2013

  13. James,
    Although you may not see it you are the product of your mother courage. As she was an inspiration to you, you now become an inspiration to others (willingly or not) just because you choose to fight. My thought & prays continue to be with you.
    — Mark Creagan, March 3, 2013

  14. Hey Jamie,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to write and share your incredible story and thoughts. I can only imagine how challenging this is for you right now, and we’re send HUGE love and BIG positive thoughts your way, and Julia’s, of course!

    Hoping you’re finding joy, inspiration and hope in all the small victories. Love,
    Larissa xox
    — Larissa Martin, March 4, 2013

  15. Jamie, you are The Possom! So happy to read of your continued recovery, and your candid post about your mother was beautiful,and very touching. Thanks for sharing. Love to you and Julia.
    — Philip Dale, March 4, 2013

  16. Sorry it’s been a while since I posted here, and longer since I have posted from the Profanisaurus….I don’t think I put this one up before, so enjoy:
    Catbab n, An exotic snack containing unidentifiable meat of questionable provenance, usually sold out of the window of an old ambulance.
    — Jonathan Rosenthal, March 6, 2013

  17. What’s up Jamie! SO glad to hear of your progress – that is really fantastic news! Wonderful posts and insight. I’ve been thinking about you, glad to hear of your ever-progressing strength and recovery, and am sending you much love and support!
    – Mark
    — Mark Fiorenza, March 8, 2013

  18. So here we go again your making me cry. I always cry when I read your update but not because you make me sad it’s more because you have had and have all these amazing people in your life. Your mum was wonderful I always knew that and now you have another inspiring and wonderful woman to love. You really have something to aspire to in your mum it sounds like she was your best teacher. That’s enough about you Jimmy now lets talk about me. Nah not really. I have a present for you but I don’t know where to send it, can you or someone e mail me your address at Just to let you know I’m thinking of you, it was over 40 degree’s today that’s like 120 degrees I’m sure. Anyhoo it was hot, damn hot and I’m calling it a day. Till later

    — Joy Taylor, March 12, 2013


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