Flying Free


Lisa Szeker-Madden

My mother was diagnosed with adinoid cystic cancer ten years ago and passed away on August 24, 1996. The irony is that she was diagnosed just as she was beginning a new career at the pharmacy department of Sunnybrooke Hospital...a career of which she had dreamed all of her life, a career which she had put on hold in order to raise her family. But that was her way: she always thought of others before she thought of herself. And she never let this disease get the best of her. She continued to work at Sunnybrooke for 6 years after she was diagnosed. At her funeral, her colleagues told me that she was an inspiration to them all. Each of them remarked with fondness that she was always positive, always smiling, always ready to help.

Though it would have been easy for her to be selfish in the face of this monstrous disease, she never was. She had even found the strength to volunteer a few hours a week at the hospital, when she could no longer work fulltime. And when I started university studies in another city, she and my father tirelessly came to visit every week: even when the pain from her tumours made travel difficult for her, she never missed a visit, and she never complained: she wanted to be there for me. And when I began graduate studies 3,000 miles away, she was still there for me: always just a phone call away, always ready to give advice, always ready to cheer me on.

When I went home for long visits, (to help her out as her body gradually gave up on her), we would sit by the fireplace in the evenings, and chat for hours. Many times, she would smile wistfully, and tell me that when she died, she would feel like an eagle, and with broad wings outstretched, she would be able to fly free from the pain, free from her laboured breath, free from her tortured body...

She is gone now. She gave every moment of her entire life to others. The only thing that she ever took for herself was her death: she had at last allowed herself release from the torment of her existance, for that is all it was in the end.

Hers was the greatest, most noble spirit I have ever had the good fortune to know, and while I miss her terribly, she is flying free, and I wish her well on her journey...

In loving memory of Therese Szeker (November 15, 1945 - August 24, 1996), from your daughter Lisa.

Lisa Szeker-Madden



You can send email to Lisa at lisasm@castle.uvic.ca
mail welcome


anniversary date 8-24-96
date of post 9-22-96

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW