Crows Neck Beach - Photo Jill Smith
Crows Neck Beach - Photo Jill Smith

This blog will be a raw journal of my feelings; as well as updates on my mums well being, but mostly it will be a safe space for me to say what I need to say and it won't always be flowers and roses.

If this makes you uncomfortable, don't read it. I'll still love you. april

Why her?

I struggle with this daily. I think she does too.


The reality of the WHY is the radiation from her Cancer treatment most likely caused the weaknesses that let the blood clot travel to her brain. We will never know for sure, I don't think the doctors would tell us even if they knew. Cancer is big business.

But really, has Jill not suffered enough?

It is truly remarkable, if you were to be privy to all the details of Jill's life, that she was able to stay so positive…and be such a beacon of light for others that needed her.

She has been dealt a pretty shitty hand as far as life cards go, from the very beginning.

WHY THIS? What lesson are we supposed to learn here?

The only thing I can think of is that she spent much of her life bouncing around, being the gypsy grandma we all love and miss. We didn’t see her a lot – she didn’t have to learn that she can lean on us when she needs to. She was fiercely independent. She was going to do it all! Everything she wanted, and if none of us wanted to join her, she’d do it alone!

When I was a child, maybe 6, Jill took us to Crows Neck beach (funnily enough this is very close to where the cottage is – for those that don’t know the lay of the land out here). At the time I remember we had to jump a fence to get to the beach - we often trespassed back then. We spent a lovely day at the beach and we were just about to get to the fence when a snorting bull came out of the bushes. He was NOT happy we were there. She told us (my brother and I) to hide behind a tree a little further back and slowly calmly stood her ground until the bull lost interest and walked off. Imagine that, Jill against a bull! She must have been terrified!

We all have ups and downs in life and struggles, but it was when she got diagnosed with Merkel Cancer that I saw fear in her eyes. Something I hadn’t really seen before – at least, not like this. This was the biggest punch she had had in a while. Things up until then were really seeming to be going well for her.

It was a long, life scarring battle, but, as we all know, she won!
"…this time" she would always remind me. I hated it when she said that.

So what do I say now when she cries and asks “WHHHHY?”?
I tell that her higher power is telling her it’s time to be with us — to be present— to learn to depend on someone, other than herself – to depend on her small but mighty, family. She nods and seems to settle in a she dabs at her eyes with a tissue.

I have to learn how to do this too - we are a unit now - I have been an island for a long time.

The fact is I still can’t take the tears away. I wish I could but there are no magic words to be said. Not this time. I wish there were.

xo a

**Word people: I really struggled with what tense to write in, past or present, then I cried over my decision.


  1. Hi April. I loved reading your blog about Jill. I cried then and I’m crying now as I write this. Crying is good for the soul! I met your Mom through AA when she lived in Cape Breton. I was new to the group when she would come to our meetings. I was very impressed with her and her love of life, try anything, do anything attitude. I think of her often and am happy to see your posts or blogs. Stay strong and continue to love her and support her. I know it can be extremely hard sometimes but I would think writing about it would help a lot. Thank you again.
    Lorraine Gillies Mac Donald

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.