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July 29th, 2013

Kathleen died today at 12:40pm in her home, with Jan, her mum, and myself by her bed. Orville and Betty were able to say their goodbyes too. The past few nights were very hard on her physically. She was getting weaker and weaker and the pain was more difficult to control. We were up since about 2am trying to bring her comfort. By 8am, she did start to relax a little more. We had also a bonus 15min of lucidity together at about 8:30. On the TV in the livingroom, I was playing pics from our lives together and she was able to see one with us on a Cuban beach and recognize it. Then she fell asleep until just past noon when she motioned a little, her breathing became irregular and her heart stopped and my heart was ripped in two.
Half of me was relieved she would suffer no more, and the other half was just suffering the loss of my closest friend, and the love of my life.
I am exhausted now, as is Elaine and Jan. We all need to sleep a few days to catch up. I havent really had time to digest and reflect on the day, other than to feel the fog of being elsewhere now. The proverbial cancer bubble has burst for me and I am not sure where I am. On 4hrs sleep in 48, its probably best not to think too much, so I will check in one more time on the blog in a few days.

Although I have many, many pictures of Kathleen, the two I have as wallpaper on my phone are

Of course, I have many, many more at but I like these two a lot for a number of reasons.


About In the Cancer Bubble

I am Kathleen's partner of almost 25yrs supporting her through this very tough and rough spot.

37 responses to “July 29th, 2013

  1. Jane Newman ⋅

    So sorry to hear this. May she rest in peace and no more suffering. My deepest sympathy to you and the family. You were such a strong supporting partner this past 15 months. You made her smile until herr last hours. Take one day at a time especially now. We have lost a treasure. Hugs to all.

  2. Fran Fisher ⋅

    Dear Mike. There’s an old Irish saying “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, Love leaves a memory no one can steal”. May your memories bring you comfort. Hugs to you, Jan and of course Kathleen’s mum. Fran

  3. Joanne and Kerry ⋅

    Bless you Mike, we are saddened that Kathleen is gone; we’ve been watching the blog and hoping for a miracle. Our hearts break for you. Hugs to you and Aunt Elaine.

  4. Rosemary P ⋅

    Mike you shared the beauty of Kathleen with all of us during this long and difficult journey – she will be remembered. Her determination and the love you shared inspired us all. My heart aches for you and Kathleen’s family. Sending my sympathies and warm hugs.

  5. anne paterson ⋅

    Mike, Elaine, I’m so sorry. As prepared as you can be for this, it doesn’t prepare you at all. It’s been a difficult and painful journey for Kathleen and for you. It’s been so very special that you have allowed us to share in the journey with you through this blog. The next few months will not be easy either. It’s a difficult time, and please, if you want to blog and share your feelings or to reach out, please do so. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Big hugs.

  6. Maureen ⋅

    I’m so sorry. It has been so hard to read about how much pain she has been in. I’m glad that she is now at peace. She was taken from us so incredibly young…I have a lot of crying to do when I get home from work. Thanks for posting the great pictures, I can’t wait to go through all of the albums.
    Sending lots of love from far away.

  7. Greg Michalenko ⋅

    I’ve just returned from Alberta. Our hearts go out to you Mike. There are blessed individuals who spread light around them. Kathleen was one of them.
    Greg Michalenko and Carroll Klein

  8. Alyson ⋅

    I wish you strength and peace Mike. And you too Elaine and Jan.

  9. Nancy Croth ⋅

    Oh MIke!!! I am so sad for you!!! Please know that you are in my thoughts!

  10. Pennie Bickerstaff ⋅

    Dear Mike,
    My heart is hurting for all of you. Prayers are being sent for all of you. You have been a wonderful care giver. Kathleen is in no more pain, she is finally Home in Heaven. You are in our prayers.

  11. I am crying with you Mike. I am so glad I saw you two a couple of weeks ago. Love you. Mon.

  12. Carl Miller ⋅

    Kathleen waged a courgageous fight supported by a loving husband.
    Dan & I send you what love and support we can. A difficult time for you and all who knew Kathleen. I will be in touch in the weeks ahead.

  13. Chris McSpurren & Sonya Grundy ⋅

    Mike, we are so sorry for your loss. Thank you for being the love of Kathleen’s life. You’ll always have the love and laughter you shared in your heart. Take care.

  14. Karen Gee ⋅

    My heart aches for you Mike but may Kathleen now be at peace after such a long and hard struggle. Words seem so empty but how fortunate she was to have you and such an amazing support system. Love the pictures.

  15. Bryan ⋅

    Dear Mike, So so sorry. As they have been since we saw you two last year, my thoughts are with you and all the family. Very sad thoughts now, but the extraordinary strength and love and courage that you’ve shown throughout have been an inspiring testament to Kathleen’s wonderful spirit.

  16. Colleen and Terry ⋅

    Dear Mike,
    There are no words that can express our sorrow and sympathy to you, Elaine, Jan, and family and friends. We can say we feel so honoured to have known Kathleen, shared a smile with her, a lunch with her, a hug with her, but most of all to witness the extraordinary ways in which she faced and fought her battle. Thank you for sharing the pictures, they are so special, as is your love for each other. Our hearts go out to you! Terry and Colleen

  17. Stacee Forrester ⋅

    Dear Mike,

    Reading your blog I have wept tears of joy, beauty, hope and now sadness. I thank you for being so very present and loving, not only with Kathleen but with all of us who shared this journey with you through your words. Many hugs to you and Elaine and Jan (it was so very great to meet her at the November party) and my heart is filled with loving thoughts. I am so very sorry for her leaving. You two inspired me so much and I wish you peace in your heart as you are an amazing person.
    Stacee and Isobel
    I am just so happy that Isobel got to meet Kathleen, when she and Drew came to visit us out in the country and Isobel was about two and we went for icecream in Westport and it was such a sunny day and I made pizza for them and it is such a wonderful memory to have that we will not forget.
    hugs to you

  18. Keith Warriner ⋅

    It is heartbreaking to hear Kathleen is gone. She was a beautiful person and, to me, a great friend, colleague and collaborator. I will miss her greatly and always remember her contributions, wit, style and intellect. She touched and enhanced the lives of many. I weep at the loss to many, but especially for Mike and Elaine for their sorrow. You were incredible in helping her make the best of her tragic final year. At peace now she will be in our thoughts forever

  19. Norine Verberg ⋅

    My thoughts are with you and everyone close to Kathleen. Kathleen’s beautiful spirit is captured in your blog entries and photographs. Her many smiles, her wit, her gentle heart. It took courage and compassion for you, Jan and Elaine, and all those who helped along the way, to nurture Kathleen through her treatment and decline. Kathleen’s spirit will live on and nurture all of us, especially you Mike, through this difficult transition. I will miss Kathleen and cherish my fond memories of our time together.

  20. Sharon McConnell ⋅

    Mike, my deepest sympathies. Kathleen was an incredible person who will be missed terribly by all who knew her. It is a profound loss, but take solace in knowing she is at peace and you did everything you could to make her comfortable through her final days. It is always hardest for those who are left behind to carry on. Know that your family and friends will support you through this very sad time. We will miss her and will carry the happy memories of her in our hearts.


  21. Karen Richardson ⋅

    I am so sorry for your loss. Kathleen will be missed by everyone who’s life she touched.

  22. Gabor ⋅

    I am having a difficult time digesting this. You know it’s coming but when it’s there in its stark reality, it is devastating. Where does one go from here?! Hopefully not a dark place. You need to remember the happy moments you’ve had together when darkness creeps in. As long as you remember Kathleen, she will never be gone. She will live on in the memories of those whose life she’s touched. And your life she’s touched more than anyone’s. I know you were strong for Kathleen through her illness, and now you need to be strong and carry on. Hope to see you soon to have our conversations.

  23. mybestfriendchasessquirrels ⋅

    Blog on, Mike……don’t stop now. Kathleen was too photogenic to keep those pics to yourself. Too bad Betty & Orville cant share some of their cherished moments…..I think Betty would have a lot to share. Be strong for your fur-kids….don’t laugh at this comment…anyone with pets know they feel our pain intensely. Today is an extraordinary sad day. Yet , of course, if Kathleen was here … ..she wouldn’t allow us to be sad for too long before she would break it with wonderful conversation. That’s what I recall whenever I stopped by to pick up Orville….she was exceptionally personable, interesting, engaging, funny, uplifting……especially on her worst days….on her better days ….she was double-y (yes its a word) the above.

  24. Kristin ⋅

    I was just looking at your picasa pics, Mike. Good grief Kath is gorgeous! I knew this already but maybe I’m more aware of it now. Your love for her is very obvious in your photos. Memories and photos are invaluable. Her killer laugh and smile. Her adventurous spirit. My earliest memories of Kath include coming out to Nanna and Grampa’s house – hanging by the pool, swinging on the swing. One year we did a trip down to Niagara – she and I went for a very memorable helicopter ride across the falls. She loved to play with her hair – it was really long at that time….she twirled it and twirled it in her fingers. I always admired her free-spirit. She will be missed by many.

  25. Brock & Michele ⋅

    Mike, Elaine and Jan…….we are so saddened to hear of Kathleen’s passing. This has been such a tough journey for all of you. There are no words that can take away your pain or ease your sadness but we hope you are able to find some comfort and in knowing what a tremendous support you have all been to Kathleen during her illness. The mere fact that she spent so little time in hospital with all that she had to deal with is a testament to that for sure. Our hearts go out to all of you…….big hugs!!!

  26. Doreen Winter ⋅

    Mike, so sorry for your loss, maybe the following will help.

    Do not stand at my grave and weep,
    I am not there, I do not sleep,
    I am a thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints on snow,
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
    I am the softly falling rain,
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight,
    I am the soft stars that shine at night,
    Do not stand at my gravse and cryl
    I am not thetre4. I did not die.

  27. Sean Scott ⋅

    So sorry to hear it. She was a wonderful person, I will miss her very much. Thanks so much for keeping everyone up to date, even when the pain was so great.

  28. Lindsey ⋅

    I am so very sorry for your loss Mike and Elaine. I know that she left us thinking of all the wonderful memories from the pictures that you showed her. She was lucky to have you both, all your support, and the life that you gave her. Kathleen was a beautiful person and an inspiration in many ways. She was not only my boss but a true friend who I will greatly miss and will keep in my heart always.

  29. John ⋅

    My condolences Mike. Words escape me at times like this.

  30. Catherine Bolger ⋅

    Mike, your strength may surprise you, but the rest of us already know. My sincere condolences on losing your best friend, Kathleen.

  31. alice ⋅

    Oh Mike, Elaine, Drew, Jan, I am so sorry. this is heartbreaking. I will miss her terribly and her remarkable friendship. she is in a good place, may her soul rest in peace.

  32. Fran Jarema ⋅

    I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you Michael, and your family.

  33. Diane Warriner ⋅

    Losing the person you shared your life with must be so devastating as is the loss of a child and a best friend.
    Thank you Mike, Elaine and Jan for your loving devotion to making Kathleen’s last time on earth full of special care and the knowledge that she was deeply loved.
    Thank you especially Mike for sharing her with us through your blog and keeping us reminded of the funny, clever , uber courageous , fiesty, kind and loving person she was.
    Like everyone I am deeply saddened by her loss but so happy she does not have to suffer any more pain.

  34. Pierre Filion ⋅

    Dear Mike:

    I want to say how sorry I am about Kathleen’s death. About three weeks ago when I realized that I hadn’t seen her in town for a long time, I searched her name on the Internet and found the Cancer Bubble blog. Over that time I read the entries and in a way I was with you in spirit.

    Since I have learned about her death early this afternoon, I have been thinking about the good memories I have of her. There was the productive research work we did together in the early 2000s. Papers we have co-authored are among my most cited articles. There were also the occasional lunches we would have at St. Jerome’s cafeteria when the food there was still good and cheap. Finally, there was the ability Kathleen had of bringing people together. We started as a group of people working on a project and thanks to Kathleen’s empathy we all became friends: Kathleen, Brad, Melanie and I would like to add my name to the list. Perhaps most important were the serendipitous meetings in Waterloo Park when Kathleen was walking the big black dog (whose name I forgot) and later at different times in and around Uptown Waterloo. I already miss Kathleen a lot, knowing that these unplanned meetings will never happen again.

    Mike, my thoughts are with you.


  35. Nancy Theberge ⋅

    From the time I met Kathleen in my undergrad feminist theory class through to working with her on her master’s thesis, her intellect and capacity for critical thinking shone like a beacon. Thanks Mike for the blog, which reacquainted me with Kathleen and you over this last while. It was so remarkable to read of the care you and others provided.

    Nancy Theberge

  36. Karen Brodie ⋅

    My heart breaks for you and your family Mike. I never had the pleasure of meeting Kathleen and I feel that my life is a little less rich for that. I wish you and your family peace, strength and comfort in the grief ahead as you confront this huge loss in your lives.

  37. Julie Vidacs ⋅

    Mike, Nick and I are thinking of you. I won’t be able to make the ceremony, but I will be back in town near the end of August, I’ll pop by then. Hope you are catching up on rest, and doing ok. Love you lots,
    Julie and Nick

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