Trying to find the right balance


Dealing with a situation like this—the whole hospital scenario, the whole medical issues, the seeing their father in a coma, dealing with the fact that I was stressed out because of it. I was running back and forth to the hospital daily and including when SARS was on. When SARS was a problem in 2003, they had restrictions on who could visit, and only one person could go down and visit at a time. 

So I would go down there; I was running back and forth, back and forth. And these poor kids—I could have really used some help, to have somebody here to help out with them, driving them to soccer, driving them to their extra-curricular activities, even if somebody would have come home and gone and done some grocery shopping for me. That kind of thing would have been really helpful because […] I’m sure [my children’s’] heads were spinning. They didn’t know what the hell was going on and I’m sure it was really traumatic for them.

My oldest daughter, she was just starting university in September shortly after this happened. She had to work full-time. So, I’d have to drive her to work every day and back. She was working at a golf course, putting in long hours, coming back with headaches every day from dehydration because it was so hot. […] It was really difficult for them. They were trying to live their lives, and [...] I was trying to minimize and mitigate the psychological damage to them caused by this traumatic situation in our family.

And I did a good job; I know I did a good job because my kids have all turned out really well. I think a lot of kids in situations like this end up with so many psychological problems that they end up turning to drugs, alcohol and God knows what, end up with severe behavioural problems, which to me is something that would be no surprise at all in a situation like this. I know that […] I tried to keep their lives as normal as possible, and I drove them to their activities. If there was something that they needed to keep their minds occupied or to enhance their psychological well-being, I would do it. Every birthday, I would give them birthday parties and I just tried to make their lives as happy and normal as possible.

It’s been hard for them, especially when there was a lot of contact blocking. My oldest daughter was away at university, so it didn’t have as much of an impact on her, but the younger two were living at home—and my son, he has a brain tumour—and they couldn’t understand why people were trying to prevent them from talking to their father.

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