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Friday, December 23, 2005

A Christmas Message

A Christmas Wish
Good Morning to all my friends and visitors.

It's Christmas Eve in Sydney Australia and at 8.21 am Daylight Saving Time, it's 35 degrees celcius already (in the shade)! We are expecting a top of 38, but where I live, close to the bottom of the Blue Mountains, we usually can expect it to be hotter than that. It's very humid so the chance of being energetic isn't high.

My Christmas this year is one of mixed feelings. My mother passed away on the 10th December, two weeks ago today. In her passing there was sadness, and yet there was relief that she was no longer in the limbo land of dementia and more importantly, her family no longer had to live with the knowledge that she had gangrene in her limbs and that it was spreading. My mother died without dignity, although I am told she died peacefully, with morphine being administered over a three week period that I imagine helped her to slip away quietly and with no pain. The only good thing about dementia is that the disease allowed her to be relatively pain free in spite of what was going on with her body.

My youngest son, who is 36, lives in Geraldton Western Australia, with his lady Helen. Geraldton is approximately 4,500 kilometres from where I live, so it's a long way from home. Aaron's father, my ex husband, has been ill for all of this year with circulation problems. He also suffers from emphysema which is affecting his heart. Earlier this year he was taken to hospital by our daughter suffering extreme pain which was diagnosed as a blood clot in the groin. He was hospitalised and operated on to clear the arteries of the clot. Then he was watched for a few weeks. His right toes began to blacken and he was told that he would need a toe amputated. The gangrene progressed and the amputation of a toe became amputation of more toes, then a foot, then a leg.

Finally after weeks of intense pain and morphine for relief of the pain that sent him into hallucinations and a dark place no one wants to see a loved one in, they amputated his right leg below the knee. To cut a long, sad, painful story short, he now has both legs amputated, has undergone surgery 7 times, 4 times in the last 4 weeks, and the legs have been amputated as far as they can be. I am horrified, distressed, saddened. My two sons and my daughter are in deep shock. I flew my youngest son, Aaron, over from WA yesterday, his first flight, and picked him up from the airport late yesterday. My daughter was with me waitng for him at the airport. I took them straight to the hospital and sat outside in the car for 1.5 hours while they visited their Dad. When they came back out we hugged in a group and they cried for him. He was screaming in pain, hallucinating, thought he was going home, worrying about his shirt, about catching a train. He thought Aaron was our other son, John.

We came back to my home a sad family and my partner Bryan had dinner cooked for us. We ate at 10.15 pm, which wasn't late for Aaron as in WA it would have been 7.15 pm. I had a troubled night, tossed and turned in the heat, and because of my thoughts for my kids' dad. They have one wish for him, and that is he goes to sleep and to his resting place. Aaron is troubled also as he had to leave Helen alone in WA for Christmas. They had their dinner planned and their weekend. Helen is now alone. It was important for Aaron to come back to see his father as it's really not expected that he will live very long. It was also important for him to be here with his sister now, as it is important that my eldest son, John, be here for her as well.

My children have been told that their father's illness has been caused by excessive alcohol consumption over many years and excessive smoking over many years. As a smoker myself I now see what could lie ahead if I don't kick the habit. My New Year resolution, and I never make them, will be to give up smoking and I will start the process of weaning on New Year's Day. As much as I love to smoke, I now see what it can and does do to the body and what my ex is going through is horrifying and enough to scare anyone off smokes.

So, whilst my Christmas Day will be complete with my three darlings around me, this isn't Christmas for any of us. We will try our best though to make it the happiest day we can under the circumstances, for my grand-daughter who is 11, and count our blessings that we are together and that we are, as far as we know anyhow, all well. The missing link is my son John who is driving down this morning from Orange, west of Sydney, some 3 hours drive time. Once he arrives I will breathe a sigh of relief.

I wish you all the very best for Christmas and may your New Year bring you peace and happiness. And for those who are spending Christmas with sadness, as my family and I are, all I can wish for you is closure, acceptance, and perhaps relief as your loved ones are released from the pain of this life.

Take care, drive carefully, and see you all in the New Year, 2006. Vena

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