She started having hip pain in August, they thought it was sciatica. When it didn't get better, she got an MRI and they found a whole mess of tumors, metasticized lung cancer. They said she could die in anywhere from 2 days to 2 years. Didn't quite believe it then. She had hip surgery, and she seemed to get better.
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When she came home, she was alone so I slept over most nights (I live down the street on the Lower East Side). My father/her husband passed only last November, they were married for over 40 years and while not a perfect marriage, it was stable and loving and not the typical thing nowadays. Insurance only covered 4 hours of home aides a day, and in the first week my mom called me at work panicked, she had forgotten how to turn off the oven. I soon hired aides for all the hours I couldn't be there (I worked 9-8pm most days)
When the back pain came back a few months ago, it was almost a relief to be able to sleep in my own bed again for a while. The radiation treatments had made her very drowsy and more dependent than ever. Work wasn't cutting me enough slack, I was a designer at the firm for 5 years, so I quit, gave 2 weeks, thought ahh, now I'll have more time with my mom. My last day there was Dec 31st.
She stayed in the hospital for 3 weeks, finished radiation, but they found new tumors, including her brain. She came home, her mobility and spirits were good. During the last weeks of work, the transit strike happened - no aides, so it was just me and momma. It was great! My first reall break from work in quite a while. We went on walks in the hood (in her wheel chair), really had quality time, the whole days stretched out in front of us. I was sad when the strike ended.
So finally I'm out of work, taking care of freelance obligations, a wonderful girlfriend, and then my mom starts sleeping tons and getting really out of it. I thought it was overmedication, so I pushed up an appointment for a check up to last wednesday. Got an ambulette to deliver us, and when the doc sees her, he pulls me aside, says this is really bad, and admits her to the hospice wing, where she promptly goes to sleep. I go home, sleep in my own bed. The next day, she's awake but barely responsive. I talk to her, and she gruffly/affectionately tells me to shut up. Later she says my name twice. Then she sleeps.. She did not wake up since. I've been going there 2x a day since, talking her ear off, saying everything that I could say. She passed around 5:30, no stuggle, just breathing, then suddenly not.
I can't believe I don't have parents anymore. I'm 34, own my own place, have a lot of good close friends, a keeper of a girlfriend, a decent career (though kind of on hold right now), have a pretty good amount of savings (and half of a large estate coming to me), but I can't help but think - it's all not quite as good without my mom and dad to help me savor it, and tell me how proud they are of me. I almost wish I didn't have a good relationship with them, maybe this would be easier?
My mom was so great, she organzined her arrangements ahead of time - prepaid the mausoleum niche, left behind all the papers I need to sort everything out, a will, etc etc. Talk about forethought, caring and class! I can only hope to be as good to my children as my parents were to me. I'm absolutely distraught knowing my parents will never meet my children. That's the human condition, I suppose.
Well, thats my rant and rave. Curse my momma for so selfishly being mortal! Cheers to my momma for being a truly excellent mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, boss, collegue and role model.