Maggy’s Ordeal and My Blessing
Tuesday, May 2, 1995, was the day my daughter was born and my wife died. Sadly, Maggy never did see the face of her baby. Now my hope is to introduce Tamara to her mother when she is resurrected.
AFTER we had been married for 16 years, my wife, Maggy, was told by her doctor that she had breast cancer and had only months to live. That was five years ago. Thankfully, Maggy was able to live quite normally during those last years of her life. Only toward the end did the pain become almost unbearable.
Because of the extent of her cancer, the doctors said that there was little chance of her becoming pregnant. So you can imagine our shock when during a routine ultrasound procedure to check on the progress of the cancerous tumors, they saw a baby in her womb! It was a girl. Maggy was four-and-a-half-months pregnant. She was filled with joy at the prospect of being a mother for the first time.
Maggy did absolutely everything she could to ensure that the baby would be born healthy. She watched her diet, and even during the last two weeks of her life, when the pain became excruciating, she took painkillers only when she could no longer stand the pain.
Blessed With a Healthy Baby
On Saturday, April 29, Maggy had heart palpitations and said: “I think I’m going to die.” I stayed with her all weekend. After calling the doctor on Monday, I immediately took her to the hospital in Montreal, Canada, not far from our home in St. Jérôme.
At about 5:30 the following morning, a nurse walked by the door of Maggy’s room and noticed that she was in distress. Apparently, she was having a heart attack. A doctor was immediately summoned from the next room. Although Maggy died, the medical team was able to save our baby. Tamara was born two-and-a-half-months premature and weighed only 2 pounds 8 ounces [1.1 kg].
Since Tamara’s blood count was low, the doctors wanted to administer a blood transfusion. However, they were encouraged to use instead the synthetic hormone erythropoietin. They did, and when the use of this product proved successful in increasing her blood count, a nurse said: “Why don’t they use that on all the babies?”
Tamara had other problems associated with premature birth, but these were all resolved. In fact, when Dr. Watters, a neurologist, examined her later, he told the nurse: “I think you gave me the wrong baby to examine; she looks perfectly normal to me.”
Facing Death and Coping Afterward
To watch Maggy die was difficult for me. I felt so helpless. It was very hard to talk about Maggy’s death. Yet, I did so when my Christian brothers and sisters came to the hospital. The pain slowly subsided the more I talked about it. Whenever I read a Watchtower or Awake! article that particularly affects me, I put it aside in a little personal section of my library and take it out and read it as I feel the need.
Another challenge has been coming home to an empty house. Loneliness is very hard to take. This feeling still surfaces, even though I do benefit from upbuilding Christian companionship. Maggy and I used to do everything together, and we talked about the problem I would have with loneliness. She wanted me to remarry. Yet, things are not that simple.
Support From Fellow Christians
I don’t know what I would have done without the support of the Hospital Liaison Committee (HLC) of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The morning Maggy died, a knowledgeable Witness from the HLC was there at the hospital and provided me with the help I needed.
The hospital staff was impressed by the assistance I received from our Christian congregation in St. Jérôme as well as from other congregations in the area. The night Maggy’s death was announced at our Christian meeting, over 20 dear friends responded by offering their assistance. The support was indeed overwhelming.
Friends prepared food for me; the freezer compartment of my refrigerator was full for months. My family and Christian brothers and sisters even took care of getting clothes for my daughter. They brought me so many things that I did not have enough room to store them all.
Pleasures Now and Future Prospects
Tamara helps me keep my mind off my loss. She has completely stolen my heart. Each day when I greet her with a cheerful “good morning,” she returns a big smile, starts “talking,” and waves her arms and legs, all excited.
As an amateur astronomer, I look forward to holding Tamara on my lap and having her gaze through my telescope at the heavenly wonders of our Grand Maker, Jehovah. Contemplating unending life in Paradise on earth is a real source of comfort. And to know that this is the prospect before Tamara gives me added pleasure.—Psalm 37:9-11, 29.
Reflecting on the events of the past five years, I can best describe them as both traumatic and joyful. I have learned much about myself and about life itself. I keenly await the future when, as the Bible describes, “death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.”—Revelation 21:3, 4.
Then, in the resurrection, Maggy will be able to take a deep breath without pain. Above all, my firm hope and desire is to be there to introduce Tamara to Maggy, so she can see the little girl for whom she did so much.—As told by Lorne Wilkins.
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With my wife
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Our daughter, Tamara