So as promised here is part 2 of me opening up. Warning: it is long and not a light topic.
So fast forward just under a year from when my sister became cancer free and it seemed like life was beginning to become normal again.
My mom somehow injured her shoulder vacuuming and it wasn’t getting better. She is one of those people who always says she is fine so she avoided getting it checked out. Weeks had passed and it was getting stiffer and she had so much trouble moving it. One night my mom, sis and I were driving in the car and it seemed like my mom wasn’t very coherent. She was saying things that didn’t make much sense (my mom has never had much health issues) so we decided to take her to the emergency room. We waited for hours to be seen and my sis told me to go home and to pick them up when they were done (we live very close to the hospital). So I went home since I had school in the morning. The next day she asked me to bring some stuff for my mom as she was being admitted so they could run some tests. I just had a feeling something was off. When I dropped off the stuff at the hospital my sister was acting off and I asked her what was wrong and if there was something she was hiding from me and she said no everything was fine. I went home that night and cried because I knew they were hiding something.
Later I found out that the on call doctor said he felt a mass on her shoulder and “he would be surprised if it wasn’t cancer”. After doing tests he was wrong it was not cancer. She had some kind of bacterial infection in her shoulder where she injured it. They said they have no idea how she got that infection and that it is a very very rare case. They ended up keeping her in the hospital for a while and they had to drain all the fluid from her shoulder.
Fast forward a few months later. I was coming up on exam times and I am sure you understand how stressful those times are. My parents were working overseas (1 days plane ride away) and I got a call from my dad saying my mom seemed to have some kind of stomach bug and they had taken her to the hospital. I again felt like something was off. I remember sitting in Starbucks with my friends studying and not being able to hold back tears thinking about the distance between us and me not being able to be there. I brushed it off and carried on.
A few days later my dad came clean to us. He said my mom was really sick and was in the hospital for a week in the ICU. They didn’t know what was wrong but her belly was swollen and she was incoherent. They said she was not acting like herself and saying and doing things that were out of her character. They said that they didn’t think she was going to make it but by the time my dad had told us all this she had fought it and was getting taken out of the ICU. He said he was torn on whether he should have told us. If my mom had died overseas and he hadn’t told us her condition I don’t know if I would have been able to forgive him.
She was recovering and she was going to come home to continue her treatment here. They found out that that same bacteria that she had in her shoulder had traveled elsewhere in her body and that was causing the issue. Her flight was booked and I was so eager to see her. I knew she was going to be weak and that she had lost a lot of weight but I wanted her home.
The day before she was set to get on the plane I had the worst day of my life.
I was home alone with my cat and my sister’s dog and I was getting ready to head out to study for exams (I had an exam the day after and another the day after that). I had put a load of laundry in the dryer and was getting ready to leave when I noticed smoke in the house. I saw it was coming from the basement. I ran to the basement and saw the dryer had smoke coming from it. I unplugged it and called 911. They told me to get out of the house. The smoke was starting to get quite strong. I came upstairs and grabbed the dog and took her outside. I tried to get my cat but he was scared and ran away from me. He ran into the basement but I couldn’t follow him. There was too much smoke.
I had no choice but to leave the house. I stood outside my house as smoke consumed the house. As I listened to my cat meow and cry. I tried to call him hoping he would come out… I could still hear him cry. I remember it was raining and the neighbours had started to gather. The firemen came and I told them my cat was still in there. My sister had just gotten home and I told her what happened. She promised me we would take him to the vet as soon as they got him.
I waited and waited outside as the firefighters and police were rushing around. I kept asking them if they had found him. Finally one police man said “I am sorry they found him and he didn’t make it”. I remember thinking this was a dream and I was waiting for him to say “haha I am kidding” but that never happened.
My neighbour had invited my sister inside to their place to keep out of the rain. I ran inside and told her what happened and I collapsed onto the floor. I was crying but no tears were coming. I remember yelling “I don’t want anything anymore!” Meaning I didn’t want to get attached to anything and to feel this loss ever again. I called my boyfriend (he was at work) and told him what happened. He loved my cat so much and he left work right away and came over. He was there for me and I know he was crumbling inside.
They managed to stop the fire but it had destroyed pretty much our whole house. We were allowed to go in and take a few things. The house was a mess. Everything burnt and everything smelled. The smell stayed with me forever. I can still smell it and that smell makes me sick. I told my friends what happened and they found a company to cremate my cat. The fireman had asked me if I wanted to see him and I refused. I didn’t want to remember him that way. But I had to ask if he was ok…. Like was he burnt or in once piece. He told me he was not burnt and he just looked like he was sleeping but his body was going stiff and they had put him in his bed. The company came to take him for cremation. They asked me which urn and I couldn’t answer. My bf had to pick one in the end.
I stayed at my bf’s that night. I cried all night. I spent some the night on the phone with my sis that was in USA. I kept asking “why?” “why did this happen?”. I couldn’t understand it. My sister decided that she was going to come see us and help us through this time.
We went to the airport to pick up my mom and my sis. My mom was so weak and she was in a wheelchair. She had no idea what had happened here the day before. We took her out to dinner and had to break the news to her. I remember just feeling numb. We took her to the hospital after dinner.
The next week was full of looking for a place to rent while our house was being rebuilt, seeing my mom in the hospital, filing paperwork to defer my exams and dealing with the emotional aspect of it all. I cried multiple times a day. I cried once at least everyday for about 2 months. In the end they just said the dryer had malfunctioned somehow and overheated and that is what caused the fire. It took them 6-8 months to finish our house.
My mom was being treated for her infection and she was doing well. She came home after being in the hospital for almost 2 months. She still had to have a nurse come in everyday to administer the IV meds. I spent 2 months seeing a therapist to help me handle my grief but I dont know how much it helped really.
I had so much anger and guilt. I kept thinking about what if I was able to get him and save him. He was there for me through so much. I had him for 8 years. He was with me when I felt alone when my family was taking care of my sister when she had to do her cancer treatment. He was all I had at home. He was like a best friend. I was thinking what if I want to the basement to get him… but my bf told me that maybe if I went into the basement I might have never come back out. I was so angry I wasn;t able to be there for him when he needed me the most… especially since he had been with me through so much.
About 2 months after the fire our neighbour at the place we were renting had found a kitten on the side of the highway. She was young and needed a home. We decided to take her in. She was only 1.7 lbs and we have no idea how she ended up in the side of the highway. She helped me heal. I thought I never wanted another pet because I didnt want to open my heart up but I did thankfully. She was able to bring some joy into my life. She will never replace him but she helped me.
It has now been about 2 years since the fire and I still have not been able to take out his urn. It is in a drawer tucked away. I cannot bear to look at it. I even got a display case to put it in along with pictures in my room but it still sits empty in my room. I have not had the courage to take it out. One day I will honour him and take it out when I am ready. There are days I still feel sad and I cry (like now) but I know I will get through it.
Jovi you mean so much to me and I miss you every day. I wish I could go back and change things but I can’t. You will always and forever be in my hear. I love you. RIP