My mother is dying.
It may be a few months, or a few weeks. Or longer. I have no idea.
We had hoped with this surgery that she’d still have some years left in her. But it was not to be.
Just a few months ago she was a vibrant woman, enjoying life and love, her grandchildren, travel. She was only just showing signs of slowing down…
Now I fear she will have lost all hope.
There are no good options left. Maybe the doctors will be able to convince her that a certain treatment might enable some quality of life, in spite of the side effects. My guess is she will not buy it. She has seen too many people succumb to this awful disease and its toxic treatments.
She is tired and weak.
Yesterday, she had hope. Today I doubt there is any left.
She is my last surviving ancestor. My dad is long gone, nearly 24 years now. Died a week before his 50th birthday from kidney cancer. With him I also lost his parents, my grandparents. My mom’s mother, my grandmother, has been gone more than 11 years. Dead at 79 from breast cancer. Her husband died when I was just 5. Heart attack.
Now it looks like my mom won’t even live as long her mother. She is just 71 — last year, a very young 70; this year a very old 71.
Sometimes I think about how happy I am that I didn’t pass along my genes to Baby J.
I am depressed, and I am angry. Sometimes one more than the other.
I feel numb.
No one saw this coming.
Just this week, a few nights before my mom was scheduled for surgery, I was feeding Baby J in the middle of the night. It was quiet as I rocked her by the moonlight, alone with my thoughts. It was the first time I had allowed myself to really feel what was happening. I had a bad feeling about the surgery, that it wouldn’t go well. I realized in that moment that I would lose my mom far sooner than I ever expected. I started anticipating her death, life without her.
That’s what we do when we have warning, when we have done it before. When you know what it’s like to lose someone before they are even gone. Grieving is such a sorrowful business. Your body remembers how to do it. Your heart knows where it is headed. Already it is not the same person you once knew. You are already grieving the person you lost, even though they are not yet gone. You become angry at the randomness, the lack of control, the sheer devastation of it, the resignation to it. Your heart is heavy.
I will keep on losing her every day, until she really is gone.
Tonight I am ever grateful for my little girl, whose smile kept me grounded and sane amidst the worst news. And for M, who is as amazing as ever.
Tomorrow is another day. One step closer to losing her. One more day with her.