January 10, 2012

a week ago today

i loathed two specific phrases
"your mom may have five to six months life expectancy" 
"it would be wise to get paper work in order"
a week ago today
 i cried harder than i ever had before.  
noticed things about my mom i never noticed before.  
 and tried my best to remember her,
more than i ever had before.

for over a month my mom has struggled with multiple blood clots, repeated hospital stays and new news both good and bad.  for over a month i haven't paid attention to what day of the month it is or time of day it is.  instead, my days have been measured by time spent with her, and time spent without her.

january 2nd was the first day of my almost month long stay in colorado that i was aware of the date.  january 2nd left a scar.  it left fear.  it left the biggest heartbreak i have ever felt.  january 2nd was the fourth day my mom had been released from her third stay at the hospital.  she was staying at my grandma's house when we were called that morning to come over earlier than expected.  my cousin julie, a doctor in our family and a person committed to my mom's health was there with her husband, two little girls and week old son.  the girls were dancing around, the newborn was being held and i watched my mom trying her best not to cry.

we waited until the little ones left for the bad news to be delivered.  until then, what we knew was just blood clots; scary and extensive but nothing that couldn't be dealt with.  it was nothing without a cure.  my mom's unsteadiness and lack of eye contact had me in knots.  we were all crying, without knowing, but knowing, it's not good.  i'm not sure how long we sat on my grandma's couch before we heard "your mom has cancer.  we believe it's ovarian.  we believe it is aggressive.  we fear it may or has spread to her lungs."

next followed the two phrases i loath.  

i can't explain the flood of thoughts and emotions that followed.  selfish ones like, 27 is too young to not have a mom.  summer?  its only january.  how will my children not know this woman?  woman?  i mean mom. my mom.  interlaced with those were thoughts like, she'll never be a grandmother.  53 is too young to die.  is she scared?  she has to be.  what is she thinking right now?!?

my sister and i sat next to her. the three of us crying.  what do we say?  what do we do next?  what can we do next?

the only thing we knew was to stay with each other.  little funny things tried to be spoken but were never successfully humored.  the rest of the day we did our best to keep ourselves from crying.  i became hypersensitive to everything about her.  i studied the ends of her hair, shape of her eyes and color of her finger nails.  i tried to remember her hug, how it felt, how i felt hugging her.  i thought about how i would miss it.  summer? for the rest of the day it felt like i was trying to retain rather than live.

january 3rd we found out her hysterectomy had been moved up a week ahead of schedule.  that it would happen the following morning.  we went through her personal files where we picked up her living will and testament {i never knew i could despise a stack of papers until that day} and got prepped for a major surgery, major news and the fourth stay in the hospital.

january 4th we arrived at 5:30 am and headed to the hospital.  we claimed an area of the waiting room, grabbed our coffees and waited.  waited for the news we knew was coming, but how bad?  at 11:00 am the doctor came out.  the surgery went great and there was no trace of cancer to be found.  what?!? did he say no cancer?  the doctor seemed as baffled as i felt; he was relieved, but not as much as me.  we arrived that day with an arsenal of questions about how bad the cancer is.  what do we do next?  can we slow this down?

i felt solace but stupid.  ask something! but what?  this was the only thing i wasn't ready to hear.  feeling numb and hopeful we decided to relish in the victorious news, at least for the time being.  we know bad news is still looming, but where? and when will we know?

it has been two days since she has been out of the hospital.  she is doing great, healing, laughing and accepting any news or prescribed tests that pop up.  i still find myself looking at her longer than normal and trying to look away before she sees me.  i'm sure after she reads this i will be caught.

...but for now we wait.  we love. and we don't take a moment for granted.


  1. O Rachel, my heart is with you, your family, and your mother..Im sending her love and healing energy from KC..I also started praying again, and she will be added to my list. I love you, stay strong beautiful!

  2. Thanks Lady, those prayers seem to be working so keep them coming!