My Story is about My mother Piret
This event took place from 15 December 2020 to 10 September 2021
My mother got admitted to the hospital in December 2020 after she had severe abdominal and back pain and was unable to eat. A tumour was found on the tail of her pancreas and further testing ordered for January 2021. She had to wait for over a month due to peak of Covid-19 in Estonia at the time. More tests were required and she finally received her actual diagnosis in March 2021 – stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
This is My Story
I look back and am so grateful to not have listened to my mum when she said to wait to go over to see her. I’m so glad we got to spend a lovely summer together and that she got to be a grandmother to my daughter. To travel during such stressful times as covid is hard enough on its own, let alone for reasons such as someone so close having stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I would not have forgiven myself if I had not gone over. I am sad I didn’t get to be there for her when she passed but the 3 months we had are the most precious time that we will always have together.
The Impact of Time
I live in Australia and had wanted to go over to Estonia to visit my parents for a while at the time I received news of mums diagnosis. My daughter Rubi was born in 2019 and my mum had come over to visit when she was 2 months old but the rest of my family hadn’t met her at all.
Australia’s borders were and had been closed since the beginning of the pandemic with no sight of them opening any time soon. I knew in the back of my mind that I needed to go over to see her earlier rather than later. She insisted that we waited until the Covid situation had settled more but I just couldn’t wait any longer knowing that time is so limited. My mum was never given any estimate on how long she had left.
So I applied for an exemption to leave Australia with my 21 month old daughter which got denied the first time – my mother’s diagnosis was not enough of a reason unfortunately. So after seeing my doctor and getting a mental health valuation I then got my exemption approved if we left for a minimum of 3 months. With heavy hearts Rubi and I left my husband behind and flew to Estonia in the beginning of May 2021.
My mother had turned down chemo as she wanted to live life as normal as she could for as long as she had left. The first month in Estonia was hard as she suffered great pain and was not able to eat or sleep properly. Luckily she eventually started receiving palliative care and we had the most beautiful time enjoying the summer together. My daughter and my parents formed such a great relationship – I knew then and there that I had made the right decision to go.
As our time in Estonia was coming to an end we encountered many difficulties with returning to Australia due to the incoming passenger caps being halved again by 50%. For a while it seemed we were stuck there for at least another 6 months however after a lot of research and a lot of money paid towards new tickets, Rubi and I flew back to Australia at the end of August 2021.
It was so hard to say goodbye to my mother as it was potentially the last time we’d see her. But because the pain treatment had been so efficient my mum was in great spirits and very positive, talking about coming to visit us when border restrictions eased and even going back to work maybe. We arrived back in Australia on the 17th of August and were under hotel quarantine followed by another 2 weeks of home-quarantine. During that time my mum’s condition worsened very quickly and she ended up in the hospital with internal bleeding. After 5 days since being admitted, on the 10th of September 2021, she sadly passed away at the age of 57. She lived for 6 months since receiving her diagnosis.