Wednesday, March 2, 2011

PYHO: My Mom



Sometimes I feel like all I do here is pour my heart out about something or other.  I'm not one of those nifty words of wisdom, witty life story, mass appeal kind of bloggers.  I started this as a place to vent and say things that I might not normally get out otherwise.

As I've shared in other posts, I lost my mom to breast cancer in Oct of 2007.  I started blogging after she was gone and as I was just getting started in really dealing with my grief.  Working thru that loss has impacted a lot of the events in my life since she has passed.  I don't know that I ever got super solid footing after her passing so with each new shitty event that's popped up there is some of that grief tangled in the mix. 

Here is the pour.....

Cleaning out some old emails (ridding myself of electronic reminders of the Biggest Azzhole in the World) and I came across this email exchange with a dear friend of mine.  Reading this hit me like a ton of bricks.  Anyway...thought I would share this as a prequel to anything I've posted here about my dealing with the grief.  I know so many others have been thru it.

This is kind of long, but important I think to have all of it.  Written about 3 weeks before we lost her.

ME:

Can I say something out loud to you w/o it coming across as a totally negative outlook?

Awesome Friend:
eeek! ok...(nervous)

ME:
My mom is dying. It makes me sad.

I've never really said that like that out loud.

It is overwhelming to think about in those terms so I try to kind of not deal with the reality too often, but feel like I had to acknowledge it. Say it. Let it out. I feel like I'm not suppose to think in those terms or say something like that.
Don't worry about me in a scary way, I'm just going thru the process of the whole thing. Lor gave me info on her counseling office and her therapist marked which names would be good for bereavement counseling so I'm set when/if needed.


Awesome Friend:
S. I have tears on my face as I write this. I am so grateful that you could feel comfortable in saying this to me.
I have been really concerned about your mom, ever since I heard that the cancer had started to spread to her organs. This is what happened to my dear Aunt P, who I cared for in her last days. I actually talked to our other girls, giving them a heads up that times were going to start becoming more difficult, so that we all could be ready to support you in the most love we could give.

S, you have been so so very brave and graceful through this process. I think that acknowledging this part of the cycle of her illness will allow you to even more draw closer to her by knowing time is short and that every moment is dear, as well as to help yourself in your own process by coming to terms with truth: The truth of the mortality of your mom and of ALL people. It just boggles my mind to even contemplate that kind of potential for loss. Recognising and accepting what *is*, as you are doing, won't make the process easier, but it will make it more honest in working through things as you go.

Also in acting as a support for your mom, she will need to be able to tell you things that are important to her regarding how she wants to see things in the family or procedures or WHATEVER after she is gone, and for you to HEAR those things and assure her that her wishes will be fulfilled is immensely important to her, as you can imagine. If we get wrapped up in, "No, no, don't talk that way" I think it can cause the person dying to feel uneasy.

I am so glad to hear that you are open to finding a councilor who is professionally trained in grief. But the process of grief doesn't start at death, you are already grieving for your mother's health as we speak. I suggest starting as soon as you can. <3

I think I am going to really try to budget tight and see if I can make a trip up to Seattle in October, so I can give you a trillion hugs in person.

Has the doctor talked about a prognosis time frame?
I love you.

ME:
L... I sound like a broken record when I say this but I will keep saying it because I want you (all of you) to know how much it means to me to such an amazing group of women as my circle of support. The friendship that the 4 of us share is timeless and amazing and will follow us all through the happy and sad of life. I have a hard enough time expressing my feelings in word form, so I know I will never be able to really explain what it means to me to have you and the girls in my life. Not that I didn't already cherish our friendship, but I don't know if I really understood the depth of or my reliance on our friendship until my mom got sick. It might really have been the first time in my life that I allowed myself to be so vulnerable and open and admit that I needed to lean on some shoulders to help me get through something. This truly has been the hardest thing I've ever been thru and I don't know what I would have done without you and your support.

I know, and have known, what the diagnosis and progression mean and what it is leading up to. I've often felt that if I say it out like that in such certain terms that people would accuse me of not having hope or not being positive. That really isn't the case. Of course I have hope and try to stay as positive as possible. If I didn't, I wouldn't be able to function on a daily basis. But I also know the medical reality and can't live in denial or I would be much worse off in the long run.

You sure are right, nobody wants to hear someone they love talk like that... in terms of them preparing for their departure. I've mustered all the strength I can to face those conversations with my mom and not break down, to listen to what she needs to say even though it's not what I want to hear. It was a little more shocking at first, but I've had a year and a half (hard to believe it's been that long that she has been sick) to get use to her talking like that. At first, it seem way far fetched and easy to dismiss it all as being in vane. Not so much now, now I'm wanting to have those conversations and sit and write things down so I'll be prepared. She's doing it with my dad as well, but I know I'll have to kick in and help him... he's not much of a detail person!

I just spoke to her right before I got your email. I had called to check in for the afternoon. I asked if she had had any recent liver function tests and she hasn't. She will most likely have one on Tuesday so we will have a better idea of what's going on there. Her breathing isn't getting any better, my dad said she is only at about 50% lung capacity but her the oxygen levels in her blood are normal so she's find there. I did notice, and she also mentioned to me, that her lower ab. is becoming a bit distended. That's most likely her liver enlarging from the tumors. She also told me that when Dr. Crossland helped my dad with his FMLA paperwork, she gave him a 3-6 month time frame to list on the paperwork, so it has shortened a bit from the previous 6-12 month prognosis. I don't know if it is because he is a bit of a pessimist, but when I was over there on Monday night my dad and I had a talk and he wants me to be prepared. He didn't want to scare me, but wanted me to make informed decisions about the time I spend with my mom etc. He said he would be surprised if she makes it into the new year, and we'd be blessed to have her for Christmas. If my mom has anything to do with it she will make it past the new year... she wants Step Dad to be able to file federal income tax one more year with her as a deduction. LMAO... that's my mom for ya!

Gosh, anyway, rambling on... I just really want to say thank you. thank you. thank you. I know you've sometimes said that you feel you feel helpless because you aren't here. Don't feel that way at all, you make a huge difference in my life physically in the area or not. I love you like a fat kid loves cake!

And there is is.. poured out.



4 comments:

Shell said...

You're lucky to have friends who are really there for you to listen through such a tough time.

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

That's great that you have a friend who sounds like they're always there for you!

T said...

Oh girl, it is difficult to acknowledge losing a parent when it's happening. It still feels weird and my dad has been gone almost 4 years now. I mean... we came from them. How could we imagine ever being apart from them?!?

Danielle said...

Wow, this gave me chills. I am so glad that you had people to turn to during that time!