Yes, I am going to be a Debbie Downer today, but since it's raining and crummy weather here, I feel like it's ok. 3 years ago today my mom lost her battle with cancer and passed away. She died peacefully in her sleep at our family house early that morning (around 7:00am). I was there. I had spent the last 6 days living back home to help my family take care of my mom and to be with my mom during her last days. I remember it all like it was yesterday. I usually suppress those memories most of the year, but every January, they creep back in. She died on a Thursday. The Friday before that my dad asked if I would spend the night at the house to help him with my mom during the middle of the night and give my youngest sister the night off because she was still living at home (just graduated from college weeks before) and was helping my dad. We found out in late January that the cancer had come back and spread to her liver. Once the cancer spreads to the liver, there is not much you can do. It is pretty much a death sentence. The doctor gave her 3-6 months to live (she lived for 30 days). Adam and I spent the night that Friday night and then after that, I never left because she was getting worse. My mom had spent a lot of time in hospitals so she wanted her last days to be in her home, so while she/we had hospice care, they brought everything to the house and that is where she spent her last days. The hospice service we used was amazing. I have never met such caring people in my life. They brought a hospital bed in for my mom when she was too sick to use stairs (all the bedrooms are upstairs). They delivered all her meds and when she too sick to swallow, they transferred all her meds to liquids so we could keep her comfortable. We could call them at any hour if there was anything wrong with my mom. But they also had counselors for us, which was very nice. They had someone who would come by everyday and talk to us, ask us how we feel, and let us know what to expect. They also had a bereavement counselor that stayed with us for 13 months after my mom passed for counseling.
The Saturday before she passed, things got very bad and we thought we were going to lose her that day. She was always a fighter through, and held on for another 5 days. I remember I woke up early that morning (sleeping was very hard to do anyway). Adam had not spent the night that night (the first for him) because he needed to let the dog out and since it was so late, he was going to sleep at our house that night. I woke up early on that Thursday morning (around 7:00am) and listened. My mom had an oxygen machine to help her breathe easily and it was pretty loud, so I was listening to hear if the machine was still on (meaning she was still alive). I heard it. I thought instead of getting up, I would try to sleep some more so I could function (a couple nights before I hadn't slept at all and it was awful). Some 30 minutes later my dad came in my room (my old room) and told me that my mom had passed. My aunt was sleeping downstairs with her that night (the liquid meds have to administered every 2-3 hours). She had given my mom meds at 6:30am and she was still breathing. My dad had that same duty the night before. When he was on duty, he set her watch alarm to go off. He hadn't turned it off so his watch went off at 7:00am (the last time he had given her meds). Well that's what woke him up that Thursday morning. He went downstairs and when he went in, she was not breathing. He got out a stethoscope and checked, and she had passed. He gave her one last kiss and then went upstairs to tell his daughters. I immediately called Adam and he was back over within minutes.
Yes, I still think about it often. I had a wonderful relationship with my mom and can't believe that I can function without her in my life. I used to talk to her daily. She was an amazing woman; she was smart, level headed, funny, athletic, financially savvy, and the best mother a daughter could have. We (her children) were everything to her. I know she misses us too. I know she is watching us. I am grateful for the all the time I did have with her (27 years), but I am also so sad and angry (yes, still) that she has not been here for others. Yes, she was there to watch me get married, but she wasn't there for the Hope's birth. She wanted to be a grandmother so bad, but never once pressured me into having a family before I was ready. I know in my heart that she gave me Hope. Hope's middle name, Cecile, was my mom's middle name. My mom was not there for my youngest sister's wedding, and I know that bothered her a lot. We had a heart to heart right before the wedding and she was very upset that mom wasn't there.
I guess in closing, please think about me and my family on this terrible day. We are all chugging through, some days are better than others.
Here are a few pictures of my mom.
My mom and me (I am 1 year).
My mom and dad (Adam and I) at our rehearsal dinner. I was giving them a gift as a thank you for everything they had done. It was a fun evening with a lot of laughing. Not sure what we are laughing at at this moment, but from my mom's face, it must have been pretty funny.
Here is my family on my wedding day. My mom's dress was beautiful and she had finished chemo months ago and her hair had gone back and she even had it cut the day of the wedding. That was a big deal for her.
Here is a picture of my mom on her 50th birthday. Unfortunately, she was in the hospital on her 50th, but the good news was she was cancer free (she had had surgery a few days before). I used to spend the night with her in the hospital because I was the smallest and the one who could easily fit in the chair. But I have to say, I wouldn't have had it any other way. I wanted to be there to take care of her and help her in any way possible. My dad had to take her of the rest of the family, so he couldn't do it. I guess it was my mother instincts kicking in a little early. So I woke up early that morning and decorated her room for her.
This is the saddest picture for me. Adam and I used to (well still do) take self portraits while on vacation. We would come back and have tons of pictures where we were both in them. In January, before my mom had gotten the bad news, my parents took a trip to Key West. During the trip, they tried to perfect the self portrait. You can see here that the self portrait has no background. They took this self portrait in the hotel room. Suck dorks! But they both look very happy, and that is what is important.
I am not sure if I will get out my menu planning today, but I can tell you I will be dining tonight at my mom's favorite restaurant, Aldo's. She loved that place.