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If You Get The Chance, Take It: Saying Goodbye To A Loved One

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Saying Goodbye To A Loved One

Most of the time, writing about travel, an event, or the latest and greatest product, comes naturally for me.

But not today.

All of that seems so unimportant right now.

It was only four days ago that my dear 83-year-old mother lost her balance, fell, and broke her hip.

A broken hip. The very thing I have dreaded for a few years now, ever since mum began to age and experience more health problems, and become less steady on her feet.

The last five days have been a whirlwind of paramedics, doctors, nurses, and therapists. My family has been on a wild roller coaster ride of emotions, hoping we’ve just ridden through the last of the loops that have turned our family’s lives upside down this week.

Hip surgery for my mum was extremely risky due to her age and health problems. It was only a month ago that doctors told us that she was not a good candidate for surgery that could essentially correct a serious health problem she has. The risk was greater that she would die on the operating table than survive the surgery.

So when we were presented with the fact that she required surgery to repair her broken hip, and that there was no choice in the matter, our hearts sank.

Suddenly we were all too well aware that there was a very real possibility that we were going to lose mum the next day during her surgery.

When your parents age before your eyes, you live in a constant state of “preparing” yourself for their inevitable death. With every cold, flu, or other ailment they come down with, in the back of your mind, you always wonder if this is that one thing their body won’t be able to fight.

You live thinking you are prepared for the end.

You never really are.

I found that out the other day.

Much of the 27 hours between when mum fell, and when she was taken in for surgery, is a blur. What I do remember clearly is watching my mum experience such extreme pain.

That was hard. So very hard to watch.

What was even harder, was saying goodbye.

You see, I was there with mum when they came to get her for surgery.

I was there watching my (almost) 90-year-old father take my mum’s hand, tell her he loved her, bend over and kiss her, and watch her as she was wheeled away.


I was the lucky one. I got to accompany my mum right to the door of the operating room.

It was there that I was given almost a half hour of precious time with my mum.

Between nurses and doctors coming and going, explaining what was about to happen, and answering our questions, I was able to say my goodbyes to my mum.

A Mother's Arms

It was the hardest, yet one of the best conversations I’ve ever had with my mum.

I managed to keep the tears at bay (no small feat for me).

We spoke about how wonderful all the nurses and doctors at the hospital had been to my mum.

I admired her beautifully painted fingernails, all painted red, except for one of her middle fingers where nurses had removed the nail polish for a procedure. I told her it was so she could give her pain the middle finger. We both giggled.

She told her Orthopaedic Surgeon, and her Anesthesiologist, that if something happened to her in the operating room, and she didn’t make it through surgery, don’t feel guilty. “After all, I’m 83 years old!” she said.

When she shook the hand of her Anesthesiologist, and found his hand to be cold, she took his hand in both of hers and held it, just to warm it up. He tried to gently pull away but, my mother would not let go. She was determined to warm his hand for him.

And warm it she did.

We spoke about friends and family who were thinking of her, and of my siblings who were so very upset that they were not able to be there with her at that time. Mum gave a shout out to all of them while I recorded her on my phone.

She wanted to ease their minds.

I’ve never been shy about telling my mum how much I love her, how much she means to me, and have thanked her many times for all she has done to help me with my health and my life.

But I took the opportunity to tell her all of that one more time.

There were many, many hugs and kisses. She assured me she was fine and not to worry – if she didn’t make it, she would see me later.

I always knew my mum was a brave, tough lady but, in this moment, it truly became crystal clear.

I was trying to be brave for her and…she was there being brave for me.

Mum was okay with everything. If this was her time to go, then she was ready.

Turns out, it wasn’t her time to go, and for that, I am so thankful. As much as I was “ready” to let her go, I can’t imagine a world without my mum.

I don’t know how much time she has left but, I do know she knows how much I love her, and how I think she is the most wonderful mother in the world.

And I am so grateful I’ve had the chance to tell her.

Mum has a long road ahead of her but, my family will be with her every (literal) step of the way.

Until it’s time to say goodbye again.

If you get this same chance, take it.

Life can change on a dime.

Cash in your dime for a hug, kiss, and a talk – before it’s too late.






  1. October 3, 2016

    Sarah De Diego

    Life is short. I’m so happy that you had that special time with your Mother. Thinking of you during this difficult time. May the Queen live on in our hearts.

    Besos Sarah.

    • October 3, 2016


      It is, isn’t it Sarah? Even when it’s “long”. Thank you so very much for your kinds words and thoughts. My mum would love your last comment….and so do I! xoxo

  2. September 30, 2016

    paula schuck

    Sandi this is really a beautiful post. Your Mom sounds like she was an awesome and strong lady and I am not surprised because she has a pretty amazing daughter too. Hugs to you. I hope this helps other people to understand that parents are special and time is so very precious.

    • September 30, 2016


      Awww <3 Thanks so much Paula!! I appreciate all of that. Now that my mum is gone, I truly hope this post helps people tell their loved ones what they really mean to them. I already miss my mum horribly but, I have no regrets. She knew exactly how much I loved her and what she meant to me. I will always cherish and feel good about this. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Paula. xo

  3. September 28, 2016


    Sad and true. I will keep your words close. Hugs.

    • October 3, 2016


      I hope you do, Dawn. If you still have your mom with you…give her a big hug the next time you see her. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  4. September 20, 2016

    Lori L.

    I’m so glad to hear your Mom came through her surgery.

    We had a scare with my Dad (75) last April; we didn’t expect him to last the night and here he is, 1.5 years later!

    Every day with our loved ones is a gift – it’s important to live and love in the moment and let them know how much they mean to us.

    Sending positive wishes for many more happy years with your Mom, she sounds like
    a courageous soul.

    • October 3, 2016


      Thanks so much, Lori. So glad to hear your dad is still with you. After such a scare, you must treasure every moment. We lost mum 5 days ago but you can be sure, I’m so grateful I had 3 extra weeks with her and got to have many, many talks with her during those days. She was most certainly courageous <3 Thanks again, Lori.

  5. September 20, 2016

    Emily Smith

    I’m so glad that you are by her side and that it wasn’t her time to go. I’m praying and sending love to you and your family. This is a reminder that we don’t know what’s around the corner, all we have is today – so we must enjoy it and tell people how much we truly care & love them. <3

    • October 3, 2016


      Thanks so much Emily! I have truly appreciated your (and your hubby’s) wonderful support since I lost my mum. It’s friends like you that are helping me get through this tough time. xo

    • September 19, 2016


      Awww πŸ™ I’m so sorry to hear that, Jennifer. That’s the same for me with others I know. I’ve definitely learned a good lesson from all this. Hugs to you. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. September 12, 2016

    linda cassidy

    so powerful, It is hard to take a chance to say goodbye but it is so true grab it if you can, It disappears from us so qiockly

    • September 13, 2016


      Thank you Linda xo So very true and I hope this post encourages people to grab that chance if they can. I know, despite the situation I’m in with my mum right now, I feel good that I’ve had that chance. Thanks for stopping by, Linda.

  7. September 12, 2016

    Ann E Bacciaglia

    Hugs to you Sandi and thank you for sharing this very important message. xoxo

    • September 13, 2016


      Thanks Ann! Hugs back to you. I know you know very well about this important message. xoxo

  8. September 11, 2016

    Carole D.

    This brought tears to my eyes. I just loss my mom to lung cancer in October. I was so fortunate to have been laid off work as I live across Canada. I was able to spend lots of time with her before she got sick and spend 6 week sitting at the hospital with her. She never talk about her dying, her fears, how scare she was. It was so hard to watch her slowly dying. The nurse in palliative care were amazing. She decided to pass when she was alone with me, I guess she didn’t want my sister to witness that. She tough I was the strong one, but doesn’t matter how strong you are, It was horrible, I can’t even describe it. I can tell you that she suffer struggling to take her last few breath, until the nurse give her her final injection. I miss her so much, but it’s getting better.

    • September 11, 2016


      Awww Carole, you just brought tears to my eyes yourself πŸ™ . I’m so very sorry you lost your mom not long ago. How timely your layoff was, which is usually a horrible thing but, in this case, it provided you with the chance to be there for your mom. That is wonderful that you were able to be by her side for so long. You are so right, no matter how tough you are, the reality is that it’s horrible. Glad to hear it’s getting better but, I’m sure you will never stop missing her. Sending you a big hug, Carole. Thank you for sharing your story with me. xo

  9. September 11, 2016

    Elizabeth Vlug

    Sandy, this brought tears to my eyes. It is so very hard, isn’t it? I am so glad you will have more time for conversations with your mom. She sounds like a treat! I wish her all the best in her journey of recovering. Take care.

    • September 11, 2016


      It sounds like you have been through this too, Elizabeth πŸ™ . Yes it is so very hard. I feel so blessed to have more time with her. I know how very lucky I am. Thanks so much for your kind words. They are very much appreciated! xo

  10. September 11, 2016

    Amanda Manduh

    Sending healing vibes her way. Thinking of you!

    • September 11, 2016


      Thank you so much, Amanda!! xo

  11. September 11, 2016

    Debbie S.

    Wishing your Mother all the best. Hope her recovery is speedy and of much ease. Sounds like she has lots of love circling her. Sending my best wishes.

    • September 11, 2016


      Debbie, thank you so much for your kind words. You are so right…lots of love circling her. Appreciate your support. xo

  12. September 11, 2016


    That was so beautiful Sandy

    • September 11, 2016


      Thank you so much, Sue <3 xo

  13. September 11, 2016

    Michelle Armstrong

    I can’t even get through your post. I lost my mom in May of 2014 while 5 months pregnant with my 3rd baby girl. I am pregnant again and I can’t help but choke up when I see a mother and daughter. I miss my mom so much. Glad yours is still with you. The pain of losing a mother is awful.
    Enjoy every second

    • September 11, 2016


      Awww Michelle…wish I could give you a hug. I’m so very sorry about your mom πŸ™ I cannot even imagine what that must have been like for you at the time…and even now with another child on the way. I think it is something we never really “get over”. I have no doubt you miss your mom immensely. Thank you so much for stopping by to share your story. It means a lot to me <3 xo

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