2017 has been a pretty eventful year so far, and it seems like the older I get, the more time flies. Recently, I felt like I went from February 1 to April 1 in what appeared to be a day or two. During that period I was with my mom, thinking that she only had days to live.
It’s an interesting opportunity when you find that a family member has a finite amount of time left on Earth. I mean, sure, we all know that we will eventually die, but perspective changes when you get a closer glimpse of when that might happen. For us, we were determined to be with my mom as much as possible for support and to enjoy the days we had left.
A while back, my mom was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. After trying a chemo pill that had no effect, the doctor said there wasn’t anything left to do except full-blown chemotherapy. The chemo may or may not extend her life and would most likely cause my mom to be sick some of the time. We all chose no chemo in hopes that she would have a better quality of life with what time she had left.
After a few months, my mom got sick. They took her to the hospital for what seemed to be a bad stomach bug. However, after antibiotics were not working, they did a scan and found a blockage in her colon. She (we) had two options: 1) only eat ice chips and drink water or 2) be fed nutrition intravenously in an ICU. None of us were fans of option 2.
A 54-day journey began on February 1. That’s the last day my mom had any substantial nutrition.
Throughout this time, I would be in coffee shops, stores or restaurants and had many people greet me with, “Hey, how are you today?” You know, the one where the typical response is, “I’m good, how are you?” When I heard those words, I kept thinking that no one knows what’s going on with anyone.
I didn’t want to unload on them, “I’m okay. My mom is dying, and I’m taking a break from being with her to do some work and get some hot chocolate.”
But, I kept thinking, since they don’t have any idea what’s going on with me, I probably don’t know what’s going on with them. Maybe that person is hurting from a tough situation too.
I became more aware of how I was interacting with others and how they interacted with me.
It was a privilege to spend the last two months of my mom’s life with her. I know that many are not able to have that time with the people they love.
I hope that I will continue to remember that others have things going on that I don’t always know.