Thursday, December 28, 2017

ALEXIS’ GIFT

Seven years, 84 months, 2555 days no matter how you add it up a lot of time has passed since Lex died. But no matter how much time the grieving feels the same as the day she died, Dec. 29, 2010. Lex hasn’t changed a bit, still 27, still beautiful, still strong. I however, have done a complete 180, I have reinvented myself as a strong, resilient woman. If you didn’t know my history, if I didn’t tell you my story you would never know the emptiness I feel when I think about her, the debilitating, crushing sadness that sits on my shoulders pushing me down. I may never have become the person I am today if I hadn’t made a promise to Lex in those final moments of her life. I told her, ‘I promise you, I will live my life well’ this promise became Alexis’s gift to me, because it gave me a purpose and direction it encouraged me to value my life and try to live with resolve something Lex never had a chance to do. My metamorphosis has been slow and sometimes painful, Alexis’ journey was cut short, mine still goes on and so by putting one foot in front of the other Lex’s gift has helped me to survive her death. Without her gift I may never have been motivated to get out of bed. Her gift has helped me to appreciate the beauty of my life and to share in her ’Joyeux de vivre’. I miss her every second of every hour of every day and my heart aches with the sadness of my loss but I feel comfort in knowing that a simple promise I made to Lex became a gift that encourages all of us to ‘live our lives well’.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

28-Strengh (Koach)

Strength in an interesting thing, it’s subjective like quick silver, I really never saw myself as strong, it was all a show for Lex, if she saw me as strong, unwavering in my belief that she would be ok then she would also be strong and I needed her to be strong. Strength is also hope and faith and they are interchangeable, as long as I had hope and faith I could be strong as long as I was strong I felt hopeful, this attitude left no room for doubt and provided a bonus trickle down affect to her dad, sister and the rest of our family who mirrored my behaviour when with Lex. Unfortunately we all lost our battle in the end, losing Alexis was a blow that no amount of Koach can help you recover from. After she died I still saw 28’s everywhere but instead of hope I felt dread because I believed that 28 was a warning, you better be strong because something bad is about to happen. Today, 7 years later I am still seeing 28’s but now I think that Lex is sending them to me, she believed until her last breath that they were positives, as long as she kept seeing them she would be ok. As we approach the 7th anniversary of her death I am grateful for the memories I have of her, especially those last weeks in Israel. However, when triggered the sadness I feel is still staggering but I am glad for this because I never want to be comfortable and accepting of her unfair, heartbreaking death.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Heartbreaking Reality of Cancer

Everything within our power must be done to eradicate this devastating disease. My beautiful, talented, brilliant daughter travelled from diagnosis to death along the halls of fear, despair and hope for 6.5 years. Cancer, is a devastating disease because of what it robs you of. It isn't just physical, it's also mental and emotional, as I can attest after witnessing my daughter's world get smaller and smaller. It broke my heart to watch her adjusting her dreams to fit into the parameters of ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukaemia). Nausea, fevers, endless trips to emergency, were just a few of the symptoms. Alexis was a team player, willing to do whatever it took to get well again, so, when she lost her hair, she bravely smiled and said, 'it would grow back' when she was nauseas she patiently waited for the nausea to pass, when she ached in every joint in her body from the steroids she accepted it because steroids made the chemo work better. When she had high fevers that brought her to the hospital's emergency department she patiently waited until they passed and she could go home. When she relapsed she willingly submitted to a stem cell transplant with all the pain that accompanies one. As she experienced the relentless progression of Cancer I watched her world get smaller, finishing school, travelling, having children were all being taken from her and with each loss she adjusted her attitude and tried to find a new dream, something that would fit into a compromised life. Cancer is vicious not just for the obvious physical ordeal that must be endured but also for the unbearable sadness that comes with the realization that the life you thought was yours, the life that everyone around you enjoyed was never going to happen. When Alexis died we were heartsick, but as I watched my daughters 'joyeux de vive' slowly fade into her last breath, I felt a profound, agonizing loss for all she should have been. To donate copy and paste this link: https://rhcc1.akaraisin.com/RHCC2017/lexrick

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Alexis has incredible friends, they're love for her is so strong that they each chose to honour her memory in the most wonderful way and so, there are now 4 beautiful children named after her. I feel so honoured that her friends would want their children to have Lex's name, it speaks to her kindness, her character, her beautiful self. All we have in life is our good name, nothing else matters in the end except how we treat each other, were we kind, considerate, giving, were we honest, a good friend, trustworthy. Alexis at such a young age already exhibited many if not all of these qualities, and she was loved for it. Ask yourself how will you be remembered, how do you want to be remembered, maybe the possibility that someone will think so highly of you that they will name their child for you is incentive enough to be a better person. Alexis's death is an even bigger tragedy for her inability to become the adult she was destined to be, but if this is her legacy, I am so proud.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

5 Years

December 29, 2015 marked 5 years since we lost our Lex. So much has happened in those 5 years as we have been living our lives moving through time. While the years have passed we have continued to grieve and to miss Lex daily, sometimes hourly, surprisingly the sadness is still almost as intense as when she died. There are vivid memory flashes of the last few months of her life, these flashes are often of memories I wish I could forget. Anger sneaks up on me too, I am so angry that this happened to Lex and to my family, but, this anger is different, its tinged with helplessness and hopelessness. Guilt haunts me, yes I feel guilt, two different kinds of guilt. First, I still wonder if I missed something that could have saved her, I understand that this is unreasonable but I can't help how I feel and the responsibility of her life in my hands is overwhelming. The second kind of guilt addresses the life I continue to enjoy and all the people that I have befriended over the last 5 years all the things I have done, even my sweet dog Turtle none of which I would have if Lex had lived, which crushes me. I recently learned something, I learned to be gentle and kind with myself. All these feelings that live in my head weigh me down but those 2 simple words 'gentle and kind,' offer me relief and give me permission to feel how I feel to not pretend that I'm ok, they tell me to be gentle with myself to stop trying to reach for unreasonable standards of behaviour. I'm sad, I miss my daughter, and I always will I'm working on trying to live with this and it's a life long challenge, but I think that while the first step is to be gentle and kind with myself the second might be to forgive Lex for dying and to just love her for who she was.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

I wasn't sure I could be happy on my daughter Danielle's wedding day. I thought I would have to compartmentalize my emotions as I always do. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the happiness and jubilation I felt were true. We all missed having Lex there, how she would have loved the planning, the primping, being Dani's 'maid of honour' and of course the partying. I thought that I would be overwhelmed, my emotions flip flopping, but instead I was able to enjoy Dani's wedding without the pull of sadness that often still takes my breath away. Rick and I are thrilled for Dani her new husband and our new son Dean, they are a wonderful couple. The wedding was beautiful full of warmth, a celebration of love. Dani looked gorgeous, she glowed and it was the first time in many years that we all felt truly happy. Alexis was heard in the song choices, she was with us under the chuppa, she was carried in the bouquet and she sat on top of the wedding cake. But it was Dani and Deans day and it was their joyful love for each other that created the mood and encouraged everyone to celebrate with them.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Alexis's 32nd Birthday

What is a birthday? It's the day you give birth to hope, love, joy, in the form of a little person who you created and excitedly introduce to the world. You spend hours trying to imagine who they will become. When Alexis was born we thought she was a superstar from the very beginning. She cried tears early, spoke early, was potty trained early. In school she did well and as she grew we became aware that she was socially smart garnering many loyal friends. As she got older it became apparent that she had a passion for travel and when it came time to discuss a career, anything that involved travel was her goal. Armed with a degree in HR she immediately sought work in the Travel Industry. One month after getting her job she discovered that she had relapsed. We will never know if she would have continued this path, if she would have stayed in Toronto or moved to work overseas. During her illness the dream changed to working in Israel, she loved it there. I was happy to know she was still making plans, trying to figure out what her next step would be, because that meant she felt hopeful that she would recover. I wish I knew how her story would unfold, but sadly I don't, she took all her dreams with her when she died. Today Lex would have been 32 years old, would she be married, working? have children? With Dani's upcoming marriage I wonder about her involvement, showers, stagette, maid of honour, speeches. She is not here to participate in any part of this wedding, there is a terrible void without her. Dani has grown into a beautiful adult, someone I enjoy talking to and spending time with, I am proud of my relationship with her and am happy and excited for her wedding. I know she misses Alexis, misses the 'what could have been' and the intimate sharing that occurs between sisters. Losing Alexis altered the fabric of my family forever, a deep wide gash that we are trying to patch, but will never fully repair. Our longing for her feels so much more poignant this year not only because of her birthday but because of her sister's approaching wedding where Lex's absence will be profoundly felt by all who knew her. So today while we should be celebrating the anniversary of our daughters birth we are instead remembering her with sweet sadness. I feel that the past, the present and the future are all colliding as I remember my beautiful Alexis, missing her today and everyday and moving forward without her.