|me and mom|
My mom passed away about a week ago on August 27th. The cancer that she’s been battling for over 11 years finally won. I’ve been going back and forth about whether or not I should write about the whole experience. It hasn’t been pleasant and there is no glamor in what my family and I have been going through. There are not enough words to describe it all. My only hope is to share what I can and in so doing, healing can begin.
Watching someone I love suffer so greatly for so long and pass on is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Knowing she would pass any day and not being able to do anything about it, the second hardest. Staying strong to help my dad go through mom’s things, the third hardest thing. I’m exhausted. The 12+ hour trip from Virginia to Florida and back again, plus all of the emotional energy expended has left me running on empty. I’m grateful for this extra day off to try and recuperate before heading back to work.
|mom + dad before me 🙂|
I don’t know much about dealing with grief. I’ve never read a book about it or had to lose someone so close. I’ve talked it over with friends and in counseling, but never lived it. I’ve never watched anyone die before. Any other relatives that have passed have done so in their sleep or at a distance. I remember when we found out this February that the cancer had returned that something inside of me knew this was her last fight. Since then I’ve been working through the stages of grief: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance, doing my best to come to terms with what was to come.
I wasn’t there when she passed. Hurricane Irene stood in our way, delaying all travel plans. They told us that she most likely wouldn’t make it through that Thursday night. She held on through Saturday morning. So strong, so stubborn, classic mom. I see my mom laying there during her last days and wonder what she was thinking, if she was in pain, was she comforted by our words of love? I can only hope so. Not knowing what else to do I chanted the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra 108 times in her honor to liberate her spirit as she moved from the material world.
|the whole family|
It is good that mom is no longer suffering. I’d rather her be at peace than here in so much pain, hardly living, just to stay with us another day. I don’t mean to say I wish she wasn’t here, but to see someone you love fight so hard, for so long and go through so much, you wonder when is it enough? Going through her things we were able to donate much to Goodwill. The best though was taking all of her unused, unopened medical supplies (and I’m talking thousands of dollars here) to the Russell Home for Atypical Children, a non-government funded organization that cares for severely handicapped children. Being so in need and knowing how much those supplies cost, they were very grateful for the donation. I think mom would be happy to have helped.
I will think of mom everyday. I will try to make her proud and continue to stay strong and smile and laugh through the difficult times like she did. I will remember her on my wedding day and when my children are born and feel grateful for having known her and loved her and loved by her. I will share her story with those that will listen. I will take comfort that she is no longer hurting and finally peaceful.
In life there is death and in death there is life.
I love you mom.
The past few weeks have not been easy for me. In fact, they have downright been the most difficult ones I’ve had to go through in a long time. While there have been lots of wonderful things to celebrate (a new house and an engagement!), this past week I lost my grandmother and was on my way to her funeral when I had to fly to Florida on the spur of the moment to be with my family at my mother’s bedside as she continues to fight her 11 year battle with cancer.
So, today my heart melted when I received my Daily Wisdom from Tiny Buddha. Highlighted between two articles was a feature on the site Love Bomb. Dedicated to sending love to those who need it most, once a week the community of love bombers come together to send messages, in the form of blog comments, of love and compassion to those who really need it.
As I’m way better at giving love than receiving (I know, I’m working on it!), I absolutely love this idea. What better way to practice compassion for others than by sharing in the Love Bomb community?
Check it out, share the love, and become a love bomber today.
Thank you Tiny Buddha for sharing this inspirational site!
|me and my mom|
About eleven years ago, my mom was diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer. Since then, it’s been a long battle with numerous surgeries, therapies and everything else that comes along with the disease. Her cancer recently returned and yet again, she grounds herself with indomitable strength and optimism. Through it all, my mom has been a shining light of inspiration and hope. This is my letter to her and to others out there in her situation that continue to hold the light and face their adversity head on.
Mom, this is for you….
On this mother’s day I’d like to take time to express my gratitude for all that you have taught me through the years. The last decade or so has brought a lot of change to our family and through it all you’ve been a shining light of inspiration as you face whatever comes your way with grace and courage. I know it is not always easy, but your fighting spirit and uplifting attitude has carried not only you, but our entire family as well. I don’t think you give yourself enough credit for your strength and it is with this letter that I try to illuminate your shining spirit for all to see.
Frankly, I don’t know how you’ve done it, how you’ve been so strong through it all. Perhaps you felt like you had no other choice. Given the options, I think taking the high road and facing this whole cancer thing head on is way better than lying down and letting it take over you. Sometimes I wonder if I would I be as strong as you if I was in your situation. Would I be able to move through every treatment, every good day, every bad day with such hope? I’m not sure of the answer, but I would like to think I get that fighting spirit from you. Thank you.
You are so quiet about it all (well, you’ve never really been quiet, but you know what I mean!) and we’ve never really talked about it. It’s like, hmm, yeah, I’ve got cancer, so? Wow! That’s amazing. I remember when we found out about the cancer and even though I recall being sad, what I really remember was the way you wouldn’t take no for an answer. You just never stopped believing that you were going to get better. You realized that there was more life out there for you and although it’s been tough, you’ve done your best to live it as fully as you can. Thank you for never giving up.
Besides all that, I want to let you know that I love you very much. Thank you for being you and for bringing me into this crazy-ass world. Thank you for letting me make mistakes and being there to support me through my big “uh oh” moments and for the “yay” moments too. Thanks for not being as hard on me as I am on myself. Thanks to you and dad for working so hard all those years to provide for our family. I truly appreciate all you have done and it has not gone unnoticed. Thank you for your good advice and giving me the freedom to take life by the horns and live it the way I want to, not the way everyone else thinks I should. Thank you for the good times, bad times, hard times and fun times. Thank you for every breath, every moment, every hug, every tear, every kiss, every smile, everything. They’ve all made me the woman I am today and I hope I make you proud. I know we haven’t always seen eye to eye, but thank you for that too.
What I’ve learned through all of this is that we are not really our bodies. We are not really our minds. We are the eternal spirits that carry us forward as beacons of light and erudition. We are so much more than this space, but with awareness for all that we are not, we come to know all that we are and begin to celebrate every day and every breath with gratitude and compassion. Thank you for being that light, whether you know have been or not.
Mom, I love you.