My mother is dying of metastatic breast cancer. The cancer has invaded her spine, and is heading for her liver. There is no cure, and she has been offered chemo and other measures, or the last; letting nature take its course. This is what she wants, and in her shoes, I would choose the same thing.
The bad thing about this is that I will lose my mother sooner than later. The good thing is that she, my dad and I have this time together. Plans have been made, papers signed, earthly goods distributed to family and loving friends, or are in process. Dental appointments, cataract surgery and doctor visits have been cancelled. Sugar is back in her life again, after years of following the Cancer Diet, which is basically organic fruits and vegetables, healthy grains and lean protein such as chicken or wild-caught fish; no sugar, no processed foods, very little (if any) meat. I get a huge kick out of seeing her enjoy a homemade brownie, a beautiful cupcake from the bakery, or a glazed doughnut.
Her attitude now is that she can eat whatever she wants, say whatever she wants (and does), and pretty much do whatever she wants. Her bone pain is constant, and mobility is an issue. But in case, there are drugs for pain and for sleep; they help her, and at this point in her life, addiction just isn’t on the table. She has Hospice now, which, if you know anything about it, is an absolute Godsend to the family.
When the Crankee Yankee’s mother was dying of lung cancer, we moved in with her, and she too had Hospice. If she needed anything, or a drug wasn’t working, Hospice was there to help. New prescriptions were delivered in minutes, and, when the time came, a hospital bed was moved in and that soothed her greatly. We had the privilege of being with her when that gentle, beautiful spirit left her body, and it was peaceful and fearless.
Right now, Mom and Dad and I are having wonderful times together, and I am now coming up once a week both to help out and simply enjoy their company. They are a bit over an hour away, and the trip gives me time to remember all those wonderful years together. I am so incredibly lucky to have had them for 64 years. Dad will be 91 later this month, and Mom will be 84 in November. In December, they will have been married for 60 years.
We recently met with the delightful female minister who will conduct her funeral service. She is wonderfully funny, kind, creative and very helpful. We decided on the songs to be sung; starting with “I Come to the Garden Alone,” then “Fourteen Angels (Round Me Keep),” and ending, quite appropriately for a former dancer, “I’m in Heaven!” She has chosen beautiful outfit that is both lovely and stylish, matching caskets have been chosen, and I will be doing her hair and makeup.
I am keeping this journal both for myself, my family and for you. For me, words are the thing, and I am far more comfortable and skillful with the written word rather than the spoken one. Emotions overtake me easily, and I seem to burst into tears at the slightest little thing. Even some commercials make me cry, but this is how things are these days. I always say “POP” when major life events happen; it means “part of the process.”
Mom continually surprises me with her humor, her attitude, her views on life, and her positive outlook. She says, “How often do you get the chance to say what you need to to the people you love and care about? How often do you get the time to dot the “i” and cross the “t” with everything? How often do you get the time to make your own arrangements? This time is a GIFT!” And as usual, she is right.
As things change, I will update you. Perhaps you have already walked through this or are in the process of your own walk. Please know that you don’t walk alone, and right now I welcome your company.