Vickie Lee Mathieson-Cuthbert
February 25, 1955 — March 21, 2023
We could keep it simple and tell you she was the daughter of Mary and Walt, sister to Jim, Karen and Dawn, wife to Mike, mother to Nickie, David and Amalia and a grandmother of seven. She lived in Greenbank, Wash., for the past 30 years, where she loved making art from nature and wanted to help everyone she met. We could leave it at that, and it would all be true, but we pray that hope and healing can be spread by sharing the full, raw, dirty truth…
Our mother was found unresponsive and was taken to the hospital, where the doctors told us that she remained in a coma. It took the hospital five days to locate us. As we walked into her hospital room at 6:57 p.m., we found her with one eye open, staring at the corner and struggling to breathe. When I say struggling, picture a soldier on the battlefield in a Hollywood war movie grasping to a thread of life. We stood there in disbelief for a short moment. My brother touched her arm and leaned over so he was in the vision of her singular eye. He softly said we are here; she turned her head to look at him and slowed her breathing. Her pupil slowly changed and you could tell something was connecting. He told her we loved her, her eyes welled up with water and she stopped breathing. Our mother was pronounced dead at 7 p.m., March 21, 2023.
We believe she was waiting for us; she knew we were there.
They found meningitis along with methamphetamines and other narcotics in her system. The actual cause of death has not been confirmed, but we can speculate. Our mother was an addict.
She had been an addict since I was 12 years old. I remember before she was an addict, she was the most amazing mom. Then one day she just wasn’t anymore. It was probably more of a gradual shift, but that’s how my now 48 year-old self remembers it. From one extreme to the other. My little brother doesn’t have any of the good memories, he was too young or just blocked them because of all the trauma. I honestly don’t know which is worse, but it doesn’t matter, they both suck.
She had been estranged from most of her family for several years. We would have welcomed her into our life clean, but she could not break free from her addiction and we could not take any more disappointment.
We are on a rollercoaster of emotions. We are angry, so very angry. Angry that she chose drugs over her family and continued to make that choice over and over and over. Disappointed that we weren’t enough for her to want to change her life. Sad that she never got to know her grandchildren because they are the most amazing kids. Heartbroken because she was still our mom and we loved her. Thankful that we didn’t repeat the cycle with our children. We can only hope that means they will need less recovery from their childhood than we do. It may sound strange, but for that we are also grateful to our mom.
Finally, hopeful. We are hopeful that by telling our unfiltered truth that even one person struggling with addiction will realize that if you are still drawing breath, you can still change your life. Your kids love you and still need you in their life regardless of whether they are 12 or 48. Choose them before it’s too late.
We believe our mom fought so hard for those five days to stay alive until we arrived, because in the end, she finally chose us.
The family will hold a private memorial at a later date. In lieu of flowers we ask that you please make a donation to an addiction recovery program.
Family and friends are encouraged to share memories and condolences at www.whidbeymemorial.com.