Just over two years ago I went with my dad and my mom to visit her oncologist at Swedish Medical Center. We were informed that her breast cancer had metastasized to her brain. Although her doctor is not one to throw time frames about it took very little research for my sister and I to both discover that 6-24 months was the life expectancy after such a diagnosis. It was a very early diagnosis though, so we were all comparatively hopeful as she went into treatment.
In March of 2009 mom really only had one last treatment option available. It was not even an attempt to kill the cancer, just to stave off the inevitable. After some lengthy indecision mom opted for the cyber-knife treatment.
It got her eight months;
three really good months,
two pretty good months,
one so-so month,
one not too good month,
and one really rough month.
My mom died on Sunday. For just over the last month of her life she was bed-bound. For the last two to three weeks she was not able to speak expressively. On the 17th of December was the last time she really said anything meaningful to me.
I was getting ready to leave and was giving her a hug goodbye.
She leaned her head on me and said,
“Love you, baby, see ya.”
When I returned just a few days later she wasn’t able to speak expressively but she was making sense of what we said to her and answering simple questions.
Taking care of her was a two person job by the end of November so my sister or I were there with my dad to assist him. My daddy is one of the best men in the whole world. He took amazing care of mom.
Mom, shockingly, was not in severe pain from headaches. The hospice nurses were continually amazed by that. She had some aches and pains but nothing like the debilitating headaches that were anticipated. Mom credited all the prayers offered for her by family and friends.
Sunday morning mom’s breathing was ragged and we worked on getting her comfortable with some phone coaching from hospice. We finally got her resting comfortably and went to sit down and regroup. Just a few minutes later dad went in to check on mom and found she had passed away.
Despite knowing this was coming for two years, and knowing it was close, it still somehow arrived with shocking swiftness. I thought we’d know. I thought we would be holding her hand and sitting with her. We just thought we were getting her comfortable for a rest time, not the last time.
I’m glad her ordeal is over,
but I really, really miss my mommy.