Nothing like a cancer crisis to determine who your friends really are. (Part 2)

It often said “it takes a  crisis to determine who your friends really are”. This was so true in my cancer journey with Bruce. Some may avoid the crisis for personal reasons and there are all kinds of reasons when faced with a terminal illness.  You will learn who your real friends and family are. They rise above their own personal “squeamish es” to be there for you. To pick you up when you fall down. They seem to just magically appear when you need them the most.

 Family and friends gathered to spread ashes near Rock Lake, Alberta. One of Bruce’s favorite spots to pack into the mountains.

My family
Laura Martin

Family when you need them the most

Our cancer crisis brought me so much closer to my sister and her family. She and I  were 12 years apart but cancer made me appreciate the value of family. They were 4 hours away. I had not known their warm embrace until disaster struck.

They seemed to know when they were  needed without a phone call. My sister and I grew up separately because of the difference in our age. Though we were 12 years apart, I grew to be more appreciative of her and her family and more appreciative of life. This family was a gift cancer had given me in my time of need. My  nephews were there to help get old equipment ready for the estate sale, and my niece Lisa came with paint and rollers when it was time to prepare the old ranch house for auction.

Bruce’s family, brothers, sisters, brother in laws, sister in laws, step sons and step wives all were there to help with sale day preparations and with the move to St. Denis. 


Then things started going wrong

For weeks I had been both emotionally and physically drained. Things had been going wrong at the ranch the moment I returned home from the hospital without Bruce. Only those close to me understood the burden and tough decisions I now had to make solo. The horse with cushings desease had blown the bones out of the bottom of her feet and needed to be put down. The house cat had suddenly decided to go into acute renal failure and was also rushed to the vet for humane euthanasia. They say things happen in threes……

The husband, the horse and house cat during the week of Chrsitmas 2014, 

Laura Martin
Laura Martin

No heat or hot water and no Bruce to fix it

The coal that heated the house and the hot water system had froze in the bin .The auger that moved it to the coal furnace was shot. I had no hot water or heat in the house. It had been one of the coldest and longest January and February I had ever known. It was just me and my parrot Grace now. I  used portable electric heaters in the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom to keep pipes and us from freezing.

Can’t afford electric heat and shop doors wont open

The hot water heater was full of rust and needed to be replaced. I used electric heat where I could. The power bill arrived a short time later indicating I owed almost 6 mos of power in 1 month. The accountant informed me I had a huge capital gains tax to claim not only on the transition of Edam land but also the land that was missed on the sale of our Alberta ranch.

Robert had taken the cattle of my hands to feed. But i still needed the get huge shop doors open and the tractor started to feed the horses. The snow and cold just kept coming and the good Lord just kept dishing out blows one after another it seemed.

My Friend Candy to the rescue

Candy and I had become close friends because of the love of a horse she had purchased from us in 2010. She was was one of my closest friends during the Edam years. She lived an hour away but kept careful watch of me after Bruce’s passing. I had been alone and feeling overwhelmed for a few months now. And like a good friend does, Candy sensed it.

A emotional and mental breakdown

Three months after Bruce’s passing, I had suffered a severe emotional and mental breakdown. I remember days thinking i don’t want to get out of bed. I want to just lay here and die. Someone might find me in a week or two. All the strength I had known through palliative care, the funerals, the memorials was gone. No one was there, I had lost everything it seemed and my life felt over. I laid on the kitchen floor powerless to get to my feet. I made 1 call to a friend an hour away “come quick” was all I had to say.

Scooped me up and off to the hospital we went 

Candy wasted no time to scoop me up off my feet and whisk me away to Edam Hospital only 10 minutes away. They stabilized my trembling body with relaxants and made a call to a Dr. in North Battleford . I swear I would still be laying on that floor trembling if she hadn’t found me. How do you thank someone like that for saving your life? You can’t, but you can be eternally grateful. She will always be one of my closest friends no matter where we are or what we do.

Candy and I at a horse show together. 4 months after being picked off the floor. Thank you to Lauretta Hannay for the photo. 


Laura Martin

Cancer taught me the value of a true friends and close family and what is important in life. I am humbled and grateful and hold genuine friendship as the most valuable asset a person can possess, far more valuable than money and monetary things. Friends and family can save your life… will never ever be able to do that.

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