I’ve avoided writing about a difficult topic for some time. Today I found myself writing about it to a friend. But in so doing, I found I couldn’t stop.
The act of writing–as it often does–helped me step back and consider the topic, the circumstances, and see things in a new light. And that helps. So I suppose that means it’s time to post this.
My mother is dying.
Mom’s cancer has progressed, and she is staying home now, sleeping/laying down most of the time, and not really taking in any nutrition to speak of. The ladies from the personal care service have been fantastic and are spending most of the day and all of the night at her place. A room at the hospice center would give her the same 24/7 support, but this is what mom wants — a few weeks, maybe days at this point per the RN.
I get mom to smile a few times daily. Her thoughts are clear since coming home from a respite stay at the in-patient hospice center a few days ago. Although weak, frail, and losing weight, she’s in a relatively good space for the shape she’s in.
It’s hard to see her this way. The little nutrition she gets comes through that Southern elixir: sweet ice tea. Yet, most meager sips merit a cough. For some reason, her pain has lessened, necessitating fewer doses of powerful narcs like Roxicet administered through her peg tube. What hair survived the radiation and chemo is white, close-cropped and nothing like her style pre-cancer. Clothes don’t fit her either. Buying some pajama bottoms for her today, I opted for the XS and think that those should work.
Regardless, the person who now appears nothing like the lady filling my memories is still my mom, a buoyant beautiful soul. That remains.
I think that cancer nearing its run is a bit of a blessing, insofar as you see the end coming. So you can prepare for it. It’s not unlike standing chest-deep in the ocean. Your feet are planted in the sand, the current swirling around you–but you can see the wave coming, so you can prepare. You make what adjustments you can and receive the wave.
Despite how well you’ve prepared, it will move you. So I think I’m ready for that. In the meantime, I have to keep my eyes forward, head down, and do what needs doing.