When I was about 7 or 8, I went through a period of anxiety at bedtime. After my mom tucked me in, I would watch her leave the room and cry when she was out of sight. All I can remember was thinking ~ for no justifiable reason ~ that I didn’t want her to die. I don’t recall what triggered these feelings of fear; she wasn’t sick nor did she have a dangerous job. I vividly remember being inconsolable when my mom tried her best to assure me that she was not going anywhere. Of course she couldn’t guarantee that and maybe I instinctively knew it. I simply could not fathom a life without my mom.
My earliest memories of my mom take me back to when I was still drinking milk from a bottle; she was sitting in a darkened room, in her rocking chair, feeding me. I remember her planning every detail of my birthday parties every year, down to the Santa candles, cleverly shaped cakes she made for me and the Christmas-themed Lifesaver/crocheted party favors she made especially for my party guests. I remember the proud smiles on her face as she watched me receive merit badges/certificates. I remember spending every Saturday together, shopping and having lunch. I remember how she let me listen to my music in the car (and sometimes even sang with me, if she liked the song that was playing). I remember our many conversations about everything and nothing. I remember shopping with her for the perfect dresses for my high school dances/proms. I remember the beautiful wedding she helped me plan and how beautiful she looked in her “Mother of the Bride” dress. I remember the look on her face when she held my children in her arms for the first time. I remember the hours we spent talking on the phone, giggling over silly things. I remember the support we gave each other during the difficult times and the comfort in knowing that we weren’t alone, no matter how big the distance was between us. Those are a mere fraction of the memories I hold dear.
In the past month, following 2 operations, a battery of tests and procedures, my mom has been diagnosed with advanced cancer. She has always had a very positive outlook and, even now, she still has a smile on her face and her usual feistiness. The chemo will start soon and we’ve been told that we will just have to “see what it does”.
My mom has an amazing positive attitude through all of this, but she is a realist, too, who insists on taking care of everything as soon as possible. My sister has asked me to go with her to ensure that the burial plot and final plans are sorted out. Naturally, I said yes; it’s something that she and I need to do together, to lend each other moral support.
During the ride home, I began to digest exactly what that meant and spent 2 days crying, as I was taken back to that time in my childhood when I was filled with those feelings of dread. Only now…it’s different because we now have to prepare for the inevitable. We don’t know when it’ll happen. The most important thing is my mom’s quality of life. As long as she remains comfortable, that’s all that matters; the thought of seeing her suffer, even just the slightest little bit, is unbearable.
My mom has been more than just a parent to me. She’s been my pillar of support through all of the rough times, my shopping buddy, my confidante, my best friend, my Scrabble partner, my inspiration to be a better person. I know, in my heart, that she is the best mother I could ever have hoped for and, also, the most wonderful person I’ve ever been blessed to know.
Any thoughts, prayers would be gratefully appreciated.