This video is part of the video series Born in Hell. This video contains graphic and explicit material. Please listen at your own discretion. If the topics of abuse of any kind, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, or violence bother you, please do not watch this video. The years rolled on and Cecil and I were enjoying our lives together. I left the pub after I began to burn out in the kitchen and began to work at a bank, and was enjoying my new job. Michelle and I were still really good friends and spent a lot of time together running around downtown Calgary together. She was really my best friend and was always doing so many nice things for me and Cecil. Cecil was still working up north in the bush. He was lead cook at the camps up north in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. He would be gone all winter long, and home during the summer. When he was gone, working up north, I would miss him terribly and was thankful to have Michelle in my life. By the time I hit 35 years old in December 2000, my sister decided that she wanted to move up to Canada in order to get away from our abusive dad. She had let him live with her and her daughter Kimberly after our mom passed away and he was driving her absolutely crazy. I told her to think about the move carefully and to make sure that Kim's best interests were involved. She said she would think about it. January 2001 rolled around and Cecil had to go back up north for another contract position, and before he left he noticed that his legs were swelling up, basically double the normal size that they were. He began to get sick but he decided to go up north anyway. Just a few weeks after he went north, I received a phone call that Cecil had become ill at work and they had him airlifted by air ambulance to the hospital in Peace River. They kept him there until he was stable and then flew him to an Edmonton hospital and then brought him home to Calgary by ambulance. He was in the hospital for a week before being released to come home. They had run tests and could not find the problem that caused him to become so sick. Cecil had many more tests done by specialists and he was told he had to go for the test results on Valentines day, February 14, 2001. By this time I had a car and I drove him to the hospital. It was the special services building where they diagnose and treat cancer and other deadly diseases. I waited in the car for Cecil while he went to see the specialist. Cecil and I did not go with each other to doctor visits and so I sat in the car, freezing my behind off, snow covered, icy winter chill landscape was everywhere my eyes would set. It was full blown winter and it was a really cold one in Alberta. The heater in the car could not keep up with the -30 Celsius winter winds that whipped ice crystals around like clouds in the air. I was starting to shake and hoped Cecil would be out soon. He wasn't feeling well and I knew that this visit would just make him feel worse. Cecil came out and walked toward the car. He opened the door on the passenger side, and slid into the seat, closing the door. He had a definite worried look on his face and I could tell he was upset. He spoke softly, and told me, "honey, I'm dying". I froze. I could not believe my ears. I said, "what?" and he said, "I'm dying". I said, "No! That's just a great Valentines day gift isn't it?" because that was all I could think of to say. I could not believe it! The love of my life had just told me he was dying. Tears began to flow from my eyes, and he was crying. We just sat there, both of us freezing our butts off, mid winter madness hit us as we realised the reality that we now had to face. I asked him what it was, and he told me he had end stage liver disease. He explained that he had to go for more testing and that they did not know how much time he had left, but it was terminal and it was end stage. I pulled myself together after becoming completely unglued for about 10 minutes. My head was spinning, I couldn't breath, tears were streaming down my face and I couldn't see, and I thought I would vomit. I pulled it together and thought about the man sitting next to me, and how hard this must be for him, having to tell the love of his life sitting next to him that he was dying. I held his hand, and we calmed down, and I drove us home. Our lives would become very hectic for a while after Cecil's diagnosis. We had to make a trip to Edmonton for a three day seminar with the liver specialists and Cecil had many more tests to do. My work was very gracious to me and allowed me the time I needed to make sure we had everything done that needed to be done for Cecil. About a month after the diagnosis, my sister Kathi and her daughter Kim moved up to Calgary. I helped her as much as I could and told her about Cecil at this time. I did not have much time to spend with them between working and making sure Cecil's needs were being met. It was a busy time and Cecil and I just focused on doing what the doctors told us in order to help Cecil live as long as possible. Cecil was diagnosed at that time with 2 to 5 years to live, but they said they did not know how long he had, it could be 6 months or 10 years and there was no way to tell. These years were very busy and rolled by fast. Cecil and I decided that we would not let this disease beat us, and we stayed positive and decided that we were going to live our lives as normally as possible and not let this destroy us. We continued to enjoy our time together even though Cecil did become sicker and sicker as each year rolled by. My friend Michelle was working as Executive Chef at another pub and when I was 39 years old, she asked me to join her at the pub as her Sous Chef. She encouraged me to work with her and I had dreamed of the opportunity to be a Sous Chef so I jumped at the opportunity and left the bank. It was a great challenge and the money was really good. My skills were good, and the kitchen staff respected my work and knowledge and Michelle continue to train me to run the kitchen. That summer, she was injured at home and had to take the summer off, and I was able to run the kitchen at that awesome pub for the entire summer. It was a great challenge, and I was really grateful for the opportunity to prove to myself that I could do it. This year, Cecil's youngest son in England wanted to come and see him and spend some time with him, knowing that Cecil was terminally ill. He came and stayed with us for about 6 months and after he arrived it became clear that he had so many unresolved issues because Cecil was not in his life and did not help raise him. He felt abandoned and wanted to tell Cecil to his face how this affected him. I understood completely, and tried to be a voice of reason for them both and keep the peace in our home. Cecil began to get sicker by the day and decided that he needed to move out of our home into a senior care facility that had a nurse onsite. I was upset, but knew that Cecil needed to make the best decisions he needed to for his health, and for his life. I was not happy about it, but I wanted to support Cecil with whatever decisions he needed to make in his condition. I moved him into his new senior care apartment and Cecil told me that I needed to move on with my life. He felt that he was a burden to me, and holding me back and I told him that I did not want to move on and find another husband. I wanted to be with him to the end, and he knew that. We were a team, and he was breaking the team up!
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