This post is very difficult to write, both because of its sensitive and private nature and because I really don’t know what to say. I think the best way to write it is to start with the facts. A few months ago, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. They first found spots in her liver after she went to the hospital with severe stomach pains. Apparently, cancer doesn’t normally originate in the liver and they went to great lengths to try to discover the origin of the cancer. Through testing, they found 2 smaller spots on her brain and hip, but the three main and biggest spots were in her liver. She tried chemotherapy, but her body rejected the treatment and made her extremely sick and bloated. Last week at this time I had just landed in Florida after booking one of the first possible flights out. My mom’s doctor had given her “up to two weeks” to live. Thanks to my amazing fiance, I was able to take the flight down immediately to see my mom. I was extremely scared to see her for a couple reasons. I knew she had lost a lot of weight and even though my mom is normally tiny at 105 pounds, her 30 pound weight loss was scary. I also didn’t know how she would react. Her pain medication made her very forgetful, and she didn’t even believe I was coming until I walked into her bedroom. My mom and I had not always gotten along so I was worried about that aspect too, and how it would affect her mood.
Luckily she was unbelievably happy to see me and immediately came out from her room to join us on the couch. It was definitely scary to see my mom that way. The last time I had seen her was at my engagement party last July since she lives in Florida and I live in NJ. The weight loss was immediately evident and I could see the way her stomach and legs had swollen up from all the fluids. The hardest and worst part of the weekend wasn’t seeing my mom that way though, or even when she constantly confused me for her sister. It wasn’t even having to watch her struggle to remember who people were and what was going on and then apologize for it. My mom has always felt the need to apologize when things aren’t perfect (hmm, sounds familar…) and it broke my heart to hear her apologize for needing help out of bed. None of that measured up to how I felt when I had to leave on Monday night.
My mom’s family (parents, brother and sisters) had flown in from NJ to spend time with her as well and we took her to the beach in a wheelchair. She loves the beach and we had hoped it would spike her mood. She was extremely tired when we got back from the beach and fell asleep immediately. I still hadn’t gotten to read her the letter my fiance had wanted me to deliver or talk to her myself. After showering and getting ready to leave, I woke her up which I had been trying not to do all weekend. She seemed more alert during this time (and when we skyped with my sister) than any other time during the weekend. I had planned on leaving at 5:15 to ensure I got to the airport on time, but I stayed in her room crying and holding her hand until 5:35. I didn’t say much, but I feel it was enough for me to be sure my mom knew how I felt and be happy. Leaving and knowing I may never see her again is still something I can’t think about without crying. The only thing that makes me feel a little better about it is knowing that if anyone is Heaven bound, it’s my mom. I’m not religious and I don’t know entirely what I believe, but I hope if there is a Heaven (and there better be for my mom’s sake), that my mom’s Heaven is full of dogs to play with and horses to take care of. And that it’s stocked with all the chocolate cake and diet cola she can drink (diet cola…not Coke, people). It makes me happy to think she will be reunited with all of our dogs who have passed away and that she cared about so much.
I don’t really know what the point of this post was except that I felt I needed to write it down. Since some of my friends and friends of friends have heard about my mother’s illness, people have come to me and told me they have gone through similar situations. I think it’s important to have a good support system if you’re going through such a difficult time, and I guess by posting this it’s my way of opening up communication if anyone out there in Blogland or any of my facebook friends find themselves in need of someone to talk to. I appreciate the support I’ve already received and know I still will receive from my family and friends, and I know I’m so lucky to have them.