On May 14 my mom died.
It has been over a month and I still don't know what to say. I think that about 98% of the time I am living on autopilot, in denial. The times it really gets to me most is when something happens during the day, some little thing that I wouldn't bother to tell anyone else (or couldn't), and I think about how I could tell her about it the next time we talk. Except I can't.
The story. Early this year my mom found out that the clinical trial chemo she was taking in Omaha wasn't working. Her doctor suggested another chemo that sometimes helps with Leiomyosarcoma, one that she could take at home in pill form. But it was hard on her. Things had been going downhill for a while I guess. But by April she was losing weight and having trouble cooking for herself. Jaime was already doing all of her cleaning and grocery shopping. So we decided to move in and try to help her out. Well, that didn't work out so well. She likes things her way and we never did get comfortable there so two weeks later we moved back out.
Just about the time we moved out my mom decided that the side effects from the chemo weren't worth it so she stopped the chemo. At this point she had tumors in both lungs and two in her pelvic area that we know of. Jaime and I talked and we were thinking that she might not make it into next year; 2009 would probably be her last Christmas.
So as not to worry me, in true Mommy fashion, she didn't tell me what was really going on. I knew that my aunt had been helping her out since we had moved out. One night my aunt called and said my mom wasn't doing well. We didn't know much then, but she mentioned that her long term care insurance wouldn't help because they need 90 days notice and she likely didn't have 90 days.
At this point my mom was no longer leaving the house. Hospice nurses were coming over several times a week to check in and get her what she needed. A couple days later I left work early so that I could meet the nurse when she was checking in. She said we had a couple weeks.
Days went by and my started using a cane to get to the bathroom right outside her bedroom. Then she opted for a bedside commode and stopped leaving her bedroom. She virtually stopped eating; having a half a jello cup for a meal.
On Friday May 8th the nurse said she wasn't sure my mom would make it to the next scheduled visit on Monday. That Sunday was Mother's Day and that is the day that we said goodbye. She was ready.
I got no sleep that night. I kept waiting to hear the phone ringing, my aunt calling to say she was gone. I took Monday off of work so that I would be around in case. The nurse came and told us how strong my mom was. It could be any time.
I had to go to work the next day. I would have lost my mind sitting around and waiting. My mom wasn't in the mood for company anyway. Every night after work I'd stop by to see how things were going, give her a hug and kiss, maybe tell her a bit about my day. She was always pushing me out the door, telling me to get home and spend time with Junior, to rest after a long day at work. We had said everything there was to say.
Thursday after work my aunt stopped me outside the door and said that there wasn't much time left. I still wonder what the nurse saw that made her decide that. I went upstairs to say hi and rather than being under the covers as usual she had all the covers off and an icepack on her forehead. By this point she wasn't eating of drinking and her mouth was so dry she could hardly talk. I sat with her for a few minutes (she said my hand was too warm so I couldn't hold her hand) until my aunt came up. I went to my car and called Jaime to tell him I needed to stay a while and see what happened. She hadn't told me to leave yet and I knew that wasn't a good sign.
So I sat with her. Flipping over the icepack every few minutes when it lost is chill. Finding a fan that I could point at her to try and keep her comfortable. And then I watched her take her last breath.
I don't know if anyone has made it this far, or if anyone even checks this blog anymore. But I needed to get this out. My mom gave me so much in life. Most of all, and the thing that I will never forget, was her love for me and for my Junior. I will miss her every single day, but most of all I miss that Junior won't remember her and how much she loved him.