I Must Be Strong

I find it odd that during the month my mom was in the hospital dying of cancer, I never cried, never let it get to me, and I stayed strong.
Now that she’s gone, it’s hit me like a ton of bricks, I have moments where I just feel like spontaneously crying, and I’m just weak, drained, and depressed.

Today is my wife’s 31st birthday and I just sat around starting off into space. Then I laid in bed, cried a bit, and then fell asleep for two hours until she went to work.

I can’t let this get to me. I miss my mom terribly, but I have a wife and 4 kids who need me too. So I must be strong and try to move past this and not let it consume me.


Cancer Is Taking My Mom From Me

The last time I posted in this blog, my dad had passed away. He suffered from COPD and died of cardiac arrest while watching t.v. in his recliner.

Now, here I am a year later. My mom, who survived colon cancer 5 years ago, had her cancer return.
She started having minor trouble back in April. It wasn’t until several months later when she had a CT scan that they discovered several tumors in her pelvic region. One of them in a major nerve center which caused her to have tremendous amounts of pain, swelling, and paralysis in her right leg and other areas of her midsection.

I’ll skip all the details in between that time..and I will just say that she is in a nursing home at this very moment dying from this recurrence of cancer. They did radiation, started the chemo but she ended up getting sick and her white blood cell count wouldn’t rise back up… and here we are today. I’m losing my mom to cancer. There is nothing left for them to do except keep her as comfortable as possible until she passes away.

After months of pain and agony, praying, fighting, and hoping….Cancer is taking my mom from me.

Since I live 150 miles from where she lives, I’ve been to visit a couple of times. The first time the doctor gave her 24 hours to live. We stayed 5 days and she recovered. They then moved her to the nursing home. There it seemed she was going to be fine. She was back to talking, eating, drinking…and being her old self. That was the first of January this year.
Then, things started going downhill again.  And every day since, she gets a little worse. Right now she is just lingering.
The cancer has spread to her abdominal region and up around her lungs. A tumor is blocking her bowels so she can’t eat anything anymore because it will cause her to vomit. And the cancer continues to spread…and it will… until it takes her away from me.

My Uncle has held the phone up to her ear a few times so I could talk to her. But I’m not even sure if she understands most of what I’m saying. She doesn’t say much and when she does I usually can’t understand what she is saying.
But I talk…. talk about whatever comes to mind. Mom and I always had long conversations on the phone. She liked to talk and we’d talk about anything and everything. But she especially liked talking to me. I’m her only child… her only son… and for her… just knowing I was on the other end of the line made her feel better.
So, when the phone is to her ear… I talk like we used to. About anything and everything…. just so she can hear my voice. Because her just knowing I’m on the other end of the line gives her comfort. Even if she can’t respond…. even if her mind is failing due to this horrible disease taking every part of who my mom was… and destroying it… I’m still here for her… to be that comfort…on the other end of the line.

And when she is finally gone… part of me will go with her… Because my MA will always be on the other end of the line. Whether here or in heaven.

I’m going to miss her. I already miss her terribly and she’s not gone yet. Oh, her soul is still here.. but the body it’s in isn’t the same mom I knew. All because of the cancer destroying who she was.

It hurts like hell. I think of the many times she called me crying and scared because she had cancer again. She didn’t know if she could handle fighting cancer again. But mostly, she was scared to die. She didn’t want to die.

Now, as she lay 150 miles away from me… in a bed… in a nursing home….dying….I think back on those phone calls… and it breaks my heart.

The only comfort  I have is her faith assures me she will go to heaven. And makes me recall an email I sent to her once. She had emailed me, worried of what would happen if her cancer wasn’t treatable. Here is what I said:

” If that happens…You just keep living. Finish LIVING your life rather than waiting for it to end MA. Keep your faith in Jesus no matter how bad it gets and know He’s waiting for you to come Home. You’re suffering will end and you’ll be in a place for more beautiful than this cruel world. Imagine, you’ll be able to walk and talk with Jesus. He’ll be able to answer all the questions you have now that don’t have any answers…and you’ll be free.

No one wants to wrap their mind around the fact that they may die. It is a hard concept to imagine. But, like I said before, everyone dies eventually. EVERYONE.
Instead of worrying about it or trying to grasp the concept of it. Just accept the fact that we all only get so long on this earth. And your faith in Jesus assures you that when your time is done…. you’re outta here and off to our real Home… heaven.”

And her reply was: “How beautiful Josh.”

I don’t want to lose my mom. We have always been like two peas in a pod. She’s always done everything she could for me, been there for me and stuck up for me even when I was in the wrong.  But she’s never judged me, criticized me, talked down to me, or discouraged me. She has ALWAYS supported me in every thing and in every way.

But then again, I don’t want my mom to continue to suffer. I don’t want her to linger in this hellish place, trapped in a body ravaged by cancer. I want her to go Home…to heaven. Where she’ll be happy, whole, healed, safe, and reunited with our family and friends who have gone before her.

Where she’ll finally be at peace. And I can imagine her looking around at heaven in all it’s magnificence and repeating the words… “How beautiful Josh.”

I love you MA!