This weekend I was able to enjoy some time with my family, including my mom and dad. It was her birthday weekend.
A little back story here, my mom, a couple weeks ago, was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. She had been fine up until about a month ago and then she went into the hospital because she was filling with fluid. The doctors in the ER said that she was in the early stages of cirrhosis and not to worry about it but that they would send the fluid off to be tested.
The a few weeks ago she went back into the hospital because more fluid had collected and she got a call to go into the hospital.
The doctor came in and told her it was cancerous.
They did more testing.
After the testing they told her the cancer had spread throughout her body and was in her bones, her liver, her pancreas, her stomach, and other places. It was too much to operate and they gave her 3-6 months to live. We called in hospice, cancelled further testing, and went home.
That was a tough day. Very long as well. We would cry when we were awake and sleep when we could.
But this weekend was about celebrating, not regretting.
Mimi, myself, and the four kids packed into the car and headed north to her house. Along the way, we stopped at Cold Stone Creamery to get an impromptu ice cream cake (which was yummy, by the way!)
Mum decided that she wanted to make dinner for all of, thinking it might be the last time she could do it. She made ham, corn, mashed potatoes, rolls, green bean casserole, steamed shrimp, macaroni and cheese, and multiple desserts that she made herself like butterscotch pie and pumpkin pie.
During it all she was in pain, but she hid it fairly well. She wanted to do this labor of love for those she loves and love her.
After dinner we sat down to talk about the stories from the past and give her gifts. Mum was in tears because she knows this will probably be her final birthday. My kids got her a framed picture of themselves taken a month ago. Mimi and the boys wrote mum letters thanking her for all the love they have brought into their lives. And then we got her a Precious Moments piece for her mantle.
Then mum brought out the tears.
She wanted to give up some of her jewelry to my kids. She has been promising them that they would receive these and she wanted to make sure they had them in case something happened and she wasn’t able to see them anymore. (typing that just brought a lump in my throat)
We ended the day by taking some pictures with mum.
We left early because she was in a lot of pain and very tired. She took some of her morphine and headed to bed for the night and we started down the road toward home.
I got misty a couple of times and had to excuse myself after she gave out her jewelry because I was in tears.
I love my mom. She is, and always has been, such a blessing to me. She lives a Proverbs 31 life. She loves anyone and everyone.
She has been blessed.
And knowing some of her back story about being abused by her first husband, growing up in poverty just after the Great Depression, and having a tough time by watching her own mom die in her arms with the same Hospice nurse who is taking care of my mom makes it even more clear just how blessed she truly is.
And what do blessed people do?
They spend their lives blessing others.
And she has been a blessing to countless people in this life.
So we don’t know how long mum has to live. God only knows that. We will just take it one milestone at a time:
- Easter on 4/16
- Her 52nd Anniversary on 4/23
- And any other milestones afterward
If she passes before then, she will truly be home and even more blessed than she is now.
So here’s to you, mum. Happy 83rd birthday. I love you. I am a lot like you.
And for that, I am thankful.