Saturday, January 17, 2015

After Labor Day

The boys and I visited Indiana over Labor Day. And from then on, life has been a blur.

At the beginning of October, I remember one of my daily phone calls with my mom who was going in to see her doctor about some pain in her pelvic region that had arisen and was worsening with time. She said they'd be checking for an infection in her bladder with no implication that it could be anything worse than that. After I hung up with her, I sobbed.

I remember telling myself how silly it was to be so emotional over something I knew nothing of. After all, it was only a month prior that they had decided to end her chemotherapy treatments, which had really been quite successful in shrinking cancer growth in her organs.  But it was that moment that I realized that the reality was that it was only a matter of time before the cancer growth accelerated and spread without any continued treatment. I knew then what it was that I feared, and that was a tough pill to swallow.

After "good" news of an infection, and several days on antibiotics, the pain did not subside. She went back for an ultrasound which showed ascites, as well as a new mass 7x8 cm on her uterus - both undoubtedly culprits of her pelvic pain.

Then, the first week of November, she made the decision to begin hospice care. The boys and I paid Indiana a visit that second weekend and could see the dramatic change firsthand. We had been there only 8 weeks earlier where my mom had seemed relatively well.

It was during that visit, upon arrival to the Indy airport, that Owen couldn't wait to reveal our week-old secret that he was going to have a baby sister. The next day, my mom took us out shopping for baby girl. That weekend, she also made us chicken n' noodles, went on nature walks, played baseball, "punked" trees, took us out for Pizza King, and spent the gorgeous weekend outdoors watching Brooks explore and Owen play soccer, baseball, and basketball.

So to spend this visit mostly at her bedside was difficult. The extensive amounts of medication that was now a part of her daily lifestyle made it hard for her to stay awake and alert for any extended period of time. Even though sleep consumed her days, Owen had no problem climbing right up into bed with her, drawing picture after picture, and talking her ear off while she would nod in and out of sleep. My heart aches remembering how difficult it was to leave her this visit.

Then 15 days later, on the morning of November 26, Colby, the boys, the dogs, and I loaded into the Acadia a day earlier than scheduled to head for Indiana. It was a cold day, and we ran into some snowy weather on our drive, along with the thousands of others on the road headed to their Thanksgiving destinations. Meanwhile, Colby and I were keeping a running list of things our 4.5 year old had to whine about. It was already the longest trip to Indiana we had made to date. A couple of hours before our arrival, I received a phone call to prepare me and my family for what we'd be arriving to - my sweet momma who was now mostly unresponsive. When we arrived, it was late, and we had to get the boys to bed. But when Owen touched her hand to say goodnight, she perked up for a few brief seconds to say hi to him and smile. Man, did she love my Owen. After finishing putting the two boys to bed, I came back down to hold her hand and sit with her until she took her last breath only an hour and a half after our arrival.

I know she was waiting on us. I'm so thankful she did. But boy do I miss my mommy.

"I think the hardest part about losing someone isn't having to say goodbye, but rather learning to live without them."

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