This past week was one of the toughest and most challenging weeks of my life. Life is full of ups and downs each day of the week, but several days this past week were pretty much on the downside. The reason that I say this is because my mom breathed her last breath just three days ago. I was in the family room of my mom and dad’s condominium along with several of my siblings. I had my back to where mom was resting in a recliner when I heard crying. I looked over and saw my siblings crying next to mom. I immediately went over and did the same. The immediate thought was that mom would not be with us any more physically. This is what made it so tough for each one of us. There was some comfort at that time knowing that mom was not in any more pain. She had gone through much over the past several months.
My mom was diagnosed with liver cancer in the second half of 2021. She did fairly well dealing with this every day and with her infusion treatments every three to four weeks. Things seemed to be going well for about a year. Then, there was an obstruction discovered near the liver. Mom had an operation to have a stent placed in her to remove the obstruction. But this foreign object in her system caused an infection in her blood. This is when Mom had a tougher time with everything she was going through at the beginning of this year and for the past several months. There were a few occasions during this time when I received the phone call, “You need to come now.” Each time mom was able to pull through and be able to do most things that she had been able to do before all this occurred.
One of the days we thought that we were going to lose mom was on Tuesday, March 14. This is the day when she came home from the University of Pennsylvania Hospital after being there for eight days. Once again, mom came through and was feeling much better later in the day and the day after. When mom came home from the hospital this time, she was officially on the Hospice Program. Our family calls it the Homecare Program. From that day forward, mom had a head nurse come in once a week to check in on and take care of her. Another nurse came in to take care of mom several days each week. A chaplain came in every Wednesday to comfort mom, talk to her, and sing to her. I am one of six children. All of us spent many hours at the condominium making sure that at least one of us, and in many cases at least two of us, was there to help mom in any way that we could.
On Friday, May 26, the day before Memorial Day weekend, many of us were with mom in Cape May, NJ enjoying a great time together. Something happened from the time that all of us went to bed that evening until we woke up the next morning. Mom was up in the middle of the night several times. Also, she was not herself in the morning. There were many things that she was not able to do, and she was not alert that much at all. Looking back on this, we and the medical team believe that mom had a mini stroke. From this point on, everything was much more challenging for mom. Mom was at home in the condominium, but all of us had to help her with everything each day. There was not that much that she could do on her own.
This past week was even tougher than the two weeks mom was home after Memorial Day weekend. This past week was the toughest week of my entire life. It started off okay with us taking care of mom and her being able to do just a few things on her own. But, on Tuesday, June 20, Mom was having a very tough time with eating, drinking, and her vital signs were not that good. I was hoping for the best because it is my mom and I wanted her to continue to live. For those last few days mom did not eat or drink. We chose to give her some medication to help her feel more comfortable and so that she would be in little pain, and hopefully no pain at all.
Mom was 79 years old. She had a great life with my dad, me, my family, my siblings and their families, other family members and friends. There are so many memories that I have with my mom that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Including myself, there are so many people who will miss my mom so much, mainly because of how caring, loving, thoughtful, and compassionate she was. It gives me comfort knowing that my mom is in no pain anymore. She was in much pain for a long period of time, and now it is all gone. It also gives me comfort knowing that my mom is resting in the arms of Jesus Christ in heaven. I will miss my mom each day for the rest of my life, and I will cry many tears every so often. But the one thing I can look forward to during my lifetime is meeting up with her after I physically pass away. I love you, Mom!