Friday, July 14, 2006

i thank You God for most this amazing

The primary site of the cancer is in the lungs but there are secondary tumours in the liver and brain. We saw her, my wife and I, yesterday morning. It didn't feel, as I expected it to, that there was someone else in the room, whom we had to ignore, as he sweated beneath his black hood, sickle glinting. Partly because there was a real person there most of the time. My sister, the District Nurse, the dogwalker, the Doctor.

She is home, our home, where two of her children were born, where she spent her last night with my father, reunited with the spaces and objects she loves.

My sister has borrowed a wheelchair from the Red Cross. I observed, in passing, that it was easy to fold away and assemble. "Of course it is, Darling," said my mother, "those things are generally propelled by stupid people." Her faculties may not have faded yet, but they will very soon. The consultant seems to think that two months is a reasonable expectancy. I didn't know they did that kind of thing anymore; it seems like a General Hospital cliché. I keep thinking of Lady Bracknell:

To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

But I don't think I'm careless. Disorganised perhaps. It's a hard-knock life.


JD said...

Tom -- You, your mum and the rest of your family are in my thoughts. My best friend lost her mother to cancer two years ago, and despite the injustice of it all, she remains so grateful for those last few months at home -- where her mother was happiest, and where they could all share those final private words that many people never have the chance to.

Hang in there.

Your buddy from over at SG.

JB said...

there's never anything sufficient i can find to say in times like these - wax philosophical, try humor, relate on some level, send prayers. it always seems so trite. but yet, i do it anyway, because i hope that in some way, it can bring at least a smirk, a small smile, a glimmer of happiness - something, anything. and so it goes...

my grandmother lived much longer than she should of. every doctor's prediction was wrong. 6 months? not close. 10 years. but they were hard years, not just for her, but for us, the family. for 10 years, the only think my grandmother ever said to me "i love you. i miss you."

about a month before she died - i was 14 - we went to see her. it was to be the last time i saw her, and though i didnt know it for certain - i kind of knew it was.though she had beat every prediction, she had grown much weaker, the mind that much farther away. I sat next to her, and she went into her routine..."i love you, i miss you". It was conforting in a way. But then a glimmer...something i hadnt seen since i was too small to viscerally remember it, but i did remember it...this glimmer in her eye, an upturned lip. and bam:

"Josh - Be good. if you cant be good - be careful"

and said with a hint of naughtiness that barely registered but was intiutively known.

she never said another word to me. her last words to me was the sense of humor that i had always heard she had, but never saw - until then

even though this happened almost 20 years ago... tritely, i remember every little detail..her lines in her face, the tone of voice, the knick-knacks on the shelf. a moment of clarity - not just mine, but her as well.

so, at this point, i hope that have a small smile on your face, wistful memories of your own lost one ("lost" seems silly - we are the ones who are lost after all).

my prayers to you and yours. may the memories bring you incredible happiness, and not regret or sorrow. let your tears be those of joy.

Mrs. MLB said...


The strength you will find in the coming days will astound you. And when you feel weak, your family (blood or online!) will be there to pick you up.

I know the loss of a parent to cancer seems so helpless. My husband lost both of his recently to this random and senselss disease. But the fact that she's in her own bed, and not one surrounded by sterile machines and stark white walls, should give you a glint of peace. I know it did for my husband and his sisters.

I will keep you your mum in my prayers.