Cathartic Dream

I think I have finally forgiven my mom for dying the way she did. I am posting this here, because her death is what allowed me to meet my wonderful Luc and have my beautiful children.

A bit of back story if you will. almost 10 years ago to the day I went to Edmonton to visit family and have my annual New years evening with Sabi. For the first time since leaving Edmonton I didn’t stay with my mom though. I stayed at my Sabi’s house. I dropped in on my mom for quick 20 minute visits when I picked up my little 8-year-old brother to take him shopping, but I didn’t even stay long enough for a coffee. I was having a hard time dealing with my mom’s mental illness and I really just needed not to listen to her complaints about the rest of my family who I loved too.

The last time I saw her was the day I left for home. I had stopped in for a quick last visit with her and my brother and then hurried on my way. My last memory of my mom is sitting on the stairs asking me “Do you still love your old mom” I replied “of course I do” and then I left.

That night or the next she slipped into a psychotic/depressive episode and started taking (best as toxicology reports can say) massive doses of painkillers. What probably threw her into that episode was that she had gone off all her med’s yet again. Either because she was feeling better or thought she could get better on her own. She cycled through this the last 7 years of her illness. She kept my brother home from school so he could “help” her as she got sicker and just before she slipped into a coma from the overdose of Asa’s she I think had a moment of clarity and asked Kyle to go get help. Sadly he was too young and too scared to know what to do. It took 3 days before anyone found out that she had left us and Kyle was alone with her during that time.

I was on my way home from a girls night out with women from work when I received a message that I should come home. I finally made it home to my Dad and his family on my couch in my apartment saying she was gone. My first concern was Kyle and I had a desperate need to get to him. I was devastated but the thought of finding my way to Kyle kept me going. I was a Mess though. Synthia came to be with me that night and stayed up all night consoling me as I was in a fog and crying and well honestly just a mess. The next day or day after My Dad, Step mom , my 2 little sister and I made our way to Edmonton to finalize everything and be with family. As a side note I kept smelling my mom’s perfume close to me as we dealt with the last details.

I have to add that my Step mom Marie was my rock through this time. She held me as I cried and mourned she did the nastiest job of cleaning up the place where my mom passed. Without her the transition would have been much harder to get through and I think her for being there. We planned the funeral and my extended family really let me decide how things were going to go and just were supportive in every way. The only thing I regret is that I went to the viewing. In one way I wish I could have a picture of my mom in her eternal slumber so I have that tangible reminder she is gone and although I am sad that my last memory of her is the bad nail job the funeral home did on her to mask the signs of death. I don’t recall her face only her hands.

Things moved quickly after that and I became Kyle’s caregiver with Marie taking on a major role since I worked and was still in a fog. Family cleaned out her place and loaded up a truck with the stuff we decided to keep and I went home with Kyle. I still feel regret that I uprooted him so fast. But life is too short to live with major regrets. He is now a grown man and doing well.

Anyway the whole point of this ramble was my dreams. For the past 10 years any of my dreams of my mom have been angry accusatory things. I rant and rave at her for leaving her often waking in tears. In my dreams of course she never died she just ran away and pretended to die so she could go live another life. Last night I has a happy dream of her finally. She was living close or with me and caring for my youngest while I went to school. We were able to embrace and even though I brought up that I was mad that she left us for this other life it was more in passing then in an angry way. I do love my mom and I always will. I am sad that I wasn’t a better daughter to her sometimes. May she rest peaceful from now on knowing that we are all doing OK and I forgive her.

Petra Nov 15, 1955 – Jan 9, 1999

In loving memory

Mother, Daughter, sister, friend



Once upon a moonlit night

I wish upon a star

It flashed but briefly in my sight

Above the world so far

Since that time it has been night

That wish of mine is gone from sight

But maybe on another night

the star will shine once more

And with its everlasting light

Will open up a door

Upon a hill the door rotates

When all we see is the gates

To all our wishes fine abodes

That n’re a human eye beholds

The splendor of that world I see

That someday will belong to me

For I am of that perfect place

That never has beheld my face

Petra Gabriel 1978

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4 opinions on “Cathartic Dream”

  1. Julia, I am so sorry to learn of the huge loss and intense grief you have experienced. And so young. Mental Health is so precious and most of us just take it for granted. I hope your mother is in a place without so much anguish and can see what an amazing, beautiful mother you have become.

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