My Mother and Father (my Mom is the one sitting and Dad has the red bowtie)
All growing up I had such a very happy childhood. I have lots of memories of me and my family doing things together and always making time for one another. As a rule we always had dinner together, and would talk about what went on that day. Our family lives were always filled with love and respect for one another. The funny thing is when my wife first met my family she would even joke and call us the white picket fence family. Made me feel real good and proud of the way I was raised. I even remember after I left the house I would still come back on Sunday for dinners with the family. I was and always will be a momma’s boy, and never had a problem with that. Looking back on things I think you can say we had the perfect life.
Once I got engaged to my wife I thought everything was going perfect, and then one day my world came crashing down. I went to the funeral of a good friend whose mother had passed away from Cancer. I never really met his mother but went to the viewing to show my support for him. That weekend I came home and was talking with my parents, and they asked me to come and sit down with them in the living room. My sister had gotten to my parents house a bit before me and was in a room and I did not really even think about where she was at that moment.
I sat next to my mother and father and we started to talk about things, then they told me they had some news for me. It was bad news, and I could see my mother starting to well up in her eyes. It was at that moment that I could sense something was not right. My mother looked at me and said the 3 worst words I have ever heard her say…. “I have Cancer”.
Dam my world just stopped still, and I just heard the worst news of my life. I did not even know how to process what she had just told me……I went into the other room and looked for my sister. She was in her old room crying about the news that Mom and Dad just told us. It was the most helpless feeling I had ever had to that point in my life.
Over the next couple of months my mother would begin the process of chemo, and all it began to take a toll on her as well as the family. Over time she began to lose her hair, and started to get it cut shorter. As time passed I could see that her overall health was getting worse. The color in her face was starting to go and I could tell it was not going to get any better. Close family friends were starting to try and spend more time with her and the family.
One night I had come home after visiting with my parents and late at night I got a call from my father, and it was one of the scariest calls he had ever made. He called to tell me that he needed me to come back to the house. Mom had gotten worse and he wanted me to come over to the house. I got in the car and went over to my parents house, and when I got there I remember seeing my father in the doorway to their bedroom looking into their room crying. He looked so helpless, and not sure what to do. When he looked up at me he said my mother does not know who he is at all. She was slipping in and out and does not know who she is or where she is right now. When i went into see my mother she did not know who I was. She just looked up and me and said hello, as she would have said to any stranger. This was one of the worst feelings I have ever felt. You go to your parents for support when you need them, and you always expect for them to love you unconditionally. I did not know what to say to my mother, or how to handle it when I looked at her.
Later that day we had to take mom to the hospital and when we got there we learned that the Cancer had spread to the brain. The progression from there on out went down hill extremely fast. My mother would slip in and out of awareness, and then soon slipped into a coma. It was the most gut wrenching experience of my life. I wanted to be there all the time to be with her, but on the negative side I saw her as she got worse each day. I know that when some people go through something like this some choose to stay away from the hospital. Now after going through all of this think I can understand some of that a bit. You see the images that are stuck in my head the most happen to be all of the final imagines of her in the hospital. Not that this is by choice, and I try to constantly look at other photos to get those images out of my head.
My mothers funeral ceremony, and when they lowered her into her grave is the single worst day of my life. I cannot explain to any degree the pain and sorrow I felt on that day. My mother died approximately 3 month before I got married. She never got to see my wedding day, never got to see the birth of my two kids, and watch me build a family.
I love my mother very much and not a day goes by that I do not think about her. My oldest son told me and my wife once that he can feel the presence of my mother sometimes. I miss her more then words can ever describe. In looking back at things I think my mother was the glue for the family. She made sure we all did things the right way, and had respect and love for each other.
Cancer is what killed my mother, and she got it from smoking. A habit that we have stressed with our kids, that will NEVER be tolerated in our house. She tried several things to quit but none of them ever worked.
The point of this post is both to act as a therapy tool and tell people what my experience was like. Make sure you respect and love your family and spend less time working and more time with them. We hear it all of the time that it is not how much you make but your family that matters. I can tell you now I would trade everything I have to have spent more time with my mother, to have my mother at my wedding, and to see my kids grow up.
I miss and love you Mom more then you can ever imagine, I will always remember the good times we had. You did a great job building our family and I can only hope that I can do half as good as a job as you and Dad did with us.