Sunday, November 7, 2010

To my mother - may she rest in peace

My mother died on Tuesday November 2, 2010 at the age of 54. She had a somewhat mysterious cancer they believe started in her small intestine or appendix. No treatment they tried made any difference and it spread throughout her entire abdomen, unstoppable.

Mom made the decision to die just over two weeks before her death. She stopped eating and drinking, and for awhile, until her month got just too dry, even stopped the ice chips. She refused IV feeding receiving only the fluids deemed necessary to keep her PICC line open. Eventually as a family we made a decision to stop those too. For the last 4 days of mom's life she was not with us, even a little bit. She could not speak and did not show any recognition of anything but pain.

Tuesday, I came to the hospital on the 15th day of the 10 days they gave her to live. Within 30 minutes of my arrival she stopped breathing and finished her transition from the living to the dead, a 70 pound shell of the woman she once was. Dad and I were with her and my sister came later that hour (let me tell you it's awkward sitting in a room with a dead body...) We had dinner, then I went to yoga with a friend, and the grocery store. As soon as I got home from the grocery store I started sneezing, the cold which had been holding off til I was free from the hospital hit with a vengeance. I slept for at least 11 hours. Solid sleep with no ear open for the phone to ring.

Wednesday was a day of funeral home arrangements, church arrangements, nose blowing, and decongestant popping. Fortunately, my slightly obsessive mother had planned her entire funeral (and prepaid), written her obituary and done countless other things which made this process easier. My sister looked horrible, but dad and I got things done which basically consisted of signing some forms, agreeing to pay the INSANELY high cost of getting her obituary printed, and picking the flowers. Then a friend and I ran random errands and I moaned about my sinus. Then slept for 12 hours (Oh how I love sleep).

Thursday was a day of "rest" meaning I got up at noon and went to starbucks and then didn't do anything til yoga at 4. Then I hung out at home til I hung out with my best friend in the evening. It was wonderful.

Friday was, well, a day. A long, long, long day. Friday mom's ashes were interred in the morning. I, as the oldest daughter, got the honour(?) of placing her ashes in the hole in the memorial wall thing. Though we have a VERY small family, both my mom's brother and my dad's brother came, as well as my mom's cousin and my great aunt and uncle (I have no aunts and no cousins). The afternoon was the memorial service which was...packed. I am fairly sure I'll get six colds and two flus all at the same time from the number of hands I shook. Thankfully my friends eventually rescued me from the line I was suck in and we hid out in the church sanctuary. I was getting emotional simply because of all the raw emotion in the room. It's hard to explain. It was very difficult for me to meet all these people who were connected to my mom in some way and who knew, in many cases, a very different side of her.

Friday night, to distract myself from everything and get back into my routine, I went to volunteering and fed dinner to 200. (Or well, greeted 200 people at the door). I hadn't been in a month, and it often feels like coming home. I love it. Oh, and Saturday was inconsequential.

Which brings me to today. This is the first Sunday in probably a year where I haven't had to go to my parents house or a hospital. I love it. I absolutely love it. However, I didn't love the totally aimless feeling it left me with. Thankfully some libraries here are open Sundays and I went for a nice walk to get books. I also have wonderful friends and was able to get out for dinner with them.

I'm not quite sure what it is about being alone which scares me so much, and I really don't even think I'm scared of being alone, I'm quite happy/content right now, it's more the idea of not having anything to do/no where to be. I have another week off work (I was off the last two weeks as well), and there's a big push and pull going on in my brain about filling it or not filling it with social activities. Part of me craves time alone and part of me is so scared of having nothing to do and not getting out of the house. I now have something every day but Saturday, and it's only Sunday night... And of course I'll probably do yoga every day too. And maybe, just maybe, I'll take some time to write some of this out.


cb said...

Thinking of you and your family. Thanks for sharing this. I hope it helped. A lot of it paralleled some of my own experiences and I appreciate that. Take care.

Btrflygl said...

I am so very sorry for your loss.

Carolyn said...

Oh A&W, there are no words that will comfort you now. But know that we are all thinking of you and your family and holding you in our thoughts. Take care of yourself and know that slowly (very) the pain will ease. I am so sorry that you must go through this. And yes, sitting in a room with a dead body is not a pleasant situation. My two sisters and I were in the hospital room when my mother passed. Again, take care of yourself!

Anonymous said...

Stay strong.

Carolyn said...

Merry christmas, Happy Kwanza, Great Soltice, Happy New Year, have a great holiday!!! I do realize it will be difficult, but know that we are thinking of you at this time.

Herman said...

Words aren't enough. I think of my mom at the oddest times. I think of how she was in the hospital at times and some of those memories I wish I could get out of my head. I wish... I don't know, that I could be like a big sister to you. Help guide you through this. That somehow my experiences could make it easier for you, but it doesn't work that way. I'm not sure if that makes sense.