Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Every Breath Taken

It has been mentioned in this space that we had, at times, a fractured relationship. Yes, there was some discord from time to time. But she loved me (and my brothers) fiercely and depended on me mightily.

And I love her. I did (and will continue) to do what I can to honor her wishes and embody her vision with regard to commitment to community and family.

My mother took her final breath Feb. 18, 2013, 7:14 p.m. After all the laboring and uphill battles she finally, simply heaved a final sigh of release and went to sleep.

I was with her virtually every minute of her last day.  I trust that I was able to assure her that we were all okay that it was okay  for her to leave us, that we all would be fine.

I don't have the where-with-all to speak on the last several days and all that had transpired. I may not be able to expound fully, ever. But for now, please know that her being and leaving has left an imprint.

My brothers and I gathered for a meal Tuesday evening, our last before older brother returns home to Austin, TX Wednesday afternoon. After some conversation we each committed to working toward burying the dysfunction that has defined our existence for the past few decades.

I know it won't change overnight but it is comforting to have heard the notes to a song Mother had been singing for a long, long time.

Rest in Peace, mother dear. I am so honored to have been your voice when you needed it most. I am so pleased we were able to mend our fences and share some meaningful times in these last few weeks.

Thank You for your unabashed show of strength, courage, and compassion.

And thank you all for the words of support, expressions of love, encouragement, and more. My heart is very much warmed by your generous spirits.

♥ ♥ ♥

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Weak(en)ed Update

February 13th 2013 was to have been the first appointment with the oncologist (since the diagnosis). The first treatment.  It was my goal to get answers to questions, an understanding of the plan for attack, and some sense of assurance . . .

But we never made it to the appointment. I arrived at mom's very early that Wednesday morning to find her weak, barely responsive,                                  
and just . .  worn.

It didn't take long to realize another trip to the ER was in our very immediate future. The paramedics arrived within moments of the 911 call and she was in the ER within moments after that. And several moments into that visit, mom declared loud and clear, no more!

No more tests. No treatment for the infection, whatever the cause. No chemo.


Several (hundred) thousand anguished moments later, transportation to hospice care was arranged.

And that is where she is today. Tired, but comfortable and content.


The mass, I am told (now) is (very) large.

Mom was (apparently) sparring with herself to find out if there was any extrafight present to  partner with the fibromyalgia, osteo-arthritis, and other battles already in the ring. On that early Wednesday morning when she was too weak to stand, unable to tend to her most basic need, and became overwhelmed by the smallest of details, the internal sparring came to an end.


Coherent. Cogent. Convinced.

Nourishment, oxygen, and a drug to help the labored breathing (so she can rest) . . . comfort care has been the order of the last few days.

My older brother will arrive soon.


Saturday, February 09, 2013

taking the deepest breath

Yesterday was my son's thirty-first birthday.  I was prepared to post poetic about the thirty-one-derful reasons why I not only love him, but like him So SO SO much.

But yesterday was also the day I learned that my mother has lung cancer and that she's been sitting on this news for a few weeks.

waiting to exhale

Sunday, February 03, 2013

inhale, exhale

Many, if not most of us take breathing for granting. I mean it is just there, like . . . air. It is as natural as wings and the Super Bowl. and speaking of wings, did you hear some days ago about the shortage of wings?

Our local wing emporiums had been pushing folks to order their Super Bowl wings days in advance, not necessarily due to the perceived shortage of wings but mostly to avoid the last minute Game Day pick-up rush and delay. there were horror stories about folks waiting 45 minutes for their Game Day wings . . . and the GAME starts in 10 minutes!!!

The wing shortage rumor has been refuted. Still, there will be lines. I think. I won't be getting wings from any of the emporiums. But, back to the point at hand, breathing. granted. taken for.

My phone rang very early on the morning of January 23rd. An actual call (versus a text message) that wasn't from my mother. But, it was about Mom. She had called a friend to take her to the ER and the friend called me.

SOB Shortness of breath.

The ER visit turned into a week of poking and prodding, testing and scoping, and a general upset of routine. Very tiring and quite overwhelming for her, as she repeated. Often. And for me it was an  exhaustive yet educational exercise.

And then she was discharged to her  home. Home with the newest normal, oxygen. And further limitation on mobility and independence. The first night was the hardest (so far). After having spent most of the evening with her while she acclimated to the oxygen canister, waiting for the delivery for the concentrated oxygen and related training, I was called out in the middle of that night by the medic alert company: mother having problems with her oxygen, am I able to go.


The trouble was mostly anxiety.

And now, in addition to anxiety and fear there is dependence and guilt. There is confusion and helplessness. There is exhaustion and desire.

There is . . . breathing.