Photo taken September 2012
June 7th, 2014
On the of morning of May 6th, I surprised my mother by giving her a phone call in the morning something I rarely do because she usually phones me in the evening.
She told me she couldn’t talk right now as she was expecting a phone call from one of the nurses who visit her daily to help her with her cancer care regimen.
“They’re putting me in the Respite House,” she told me in a shaky voice.
I was stunned into a fearful silence as I knew the Respite House to be a hospice for the terminally ill. It was a beautiful place with about twenty beds. The care the patients receive is exemplary.
In fact, Jim, my Mother’s husband had been under their care when he died of cancer, January 12 2010.
She then explained that her stay was for only three days. Long enough for the staff to figure out what pain medications would work best for her. She and her doctors were experiencing a lot of difficulty in that area. Mother was not reacting well to any of her meds and then there was the question of the dosages she was taking as well.
For the rest of the day I was nauseous and did not go to work that night.
The next day I felt a bit better as my mental acceptance of the situation began to settle in my brain.
That night at work, I spent my lunch break alone in my work area and picked up my writing journal, pen and wrote the following:
May 8th, 2014
Each day, as I observe my mother growing ever worse with the cancer I sense the fear freezing me from the inside out. It starts in my legs and works it’s way up until it reaches my lungs. And then, it suddenly stills my chest as if I have suddenly forgotten how to breathe.
How can I continue if I cannot breathe?
How can I breathe without my Mother?
Surely, the body will survive this crisis and I will continue on without my mother.
It is the fact that I will continue on that scares me most of all.
Yes, I will keep on breathing.
I will keep breathing for her….
Within one week of writing the above, my beloved Mother was gone.
I was able to keep on breathing and will continue to breathe.
That was the last promise that I ever made to my Mother.