One year today

I’m in oddly good spirits today, possibly due to the distraction of having the in-laws over for the weekend, but we’re now back to normal in the house and I’m doing my best to have an average day. It’s been surprisingly easy, all things considered.

Mom

For those new here, it was September 4, 2010 that Aaron and I helped my mother die with dignity. She was riddled with brain and lung cancer and went from odd symptoms to very terminal in a matter of weeks. She was given six months or less to live and managed to last about two. I am very grateful I was there and that I could be her twenty-four hour caregiver (with HUGE thanks to the kind and professional assistance of Mercy Hospice in Janesville). Aaron (a best friend and ex-husband) gave me rest when he could by giving Mom company and medicines so I could catch a nap, and together we saw her die at home. Details are unimportant, but it was the hardest thing either of us have encountered in our lives. She was still a mom and confidant to us both, and I am her only child. Dad died in 1985.

I’m not sure how the two of us beautifully flawed misfits managed to do what we did, but we got through it and my mom died with us, at home, in as painless a way as she could. You can’t know it until you go through it, and if you do care for a dying loved one, I wish you strength – you’ll bloody need it.

I have terrible bouts of memories from time to time. They come fast and uninvited. Did I do the right things? Her shouting through brain tumours that confused everything… Did she hear us speak to her? Could I have made her more comfortable? And of course, the last, exhausting hours of watching her body shut down and thinking so many times that the breath she just had must be the last, only to have her suck in and gurgle out one more shallow time. The sight of her lifeless face, awkward and twisted like corpses you see in documentary footage…

We mourn still. My mother was amazing and I miss her – my friend, my mama – something fierce. It’s been a year since I heard her voice, and a year since I held her hand. I would give anything to brush her hair from her face, tuck her in, but even more to see her well and to hear her laugh again.

Mama and me, 1975

I miss you mama.

2 thoughts on “One year today”

  1. I learned today that a good friends wife has just been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. The Silent Killer – it’s called that because you don’t get too many symptoms until it’s basically too late… I lost my dad to stomach cancer about 5 years ago.

    I hate cancer.

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