Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Build-Up - Day 1

The second anniversary of my Mom's death is coming up in a few days. Why am I telling you this, Dear Reader? I need to get it out there so it doesn't stew inside of me and then erupt when the day comes. Last year I did that. I thought about it and thought about it and put so much emphasis on that day that when it finally came it was both a pinnacle of grief and a huge letdown. I know that doesn't make much sense so let me explain.

I'm not the type of person who cries much. It takes a lot to make me shed a tear. With that said, I loved my Mom tremendously and I cried like a baby before, during, and after her passing. And I don't really have to tell you that I cried on the first anniversary - what kind of person would that make me if I didn't - but I didn't expect that I was going to cry so much. I hadn't had a good crying jag for a few months. Then that day came and, wham, tears upon tears. I cried so much I was exhausted, just drained physically and emotionally.

On the other hand, it was just a day. Sure, it had been exactly one year since I said goodbye to my Mom, but it was 365 days later (actually 366 because it was a leap year the year before). So what? Day 1 was horrible. Day 47 was horrible. Day 118 was a bit better. Day 263 was better still. Day 364 was okay. Then Day 365 (366) comes and its just like Day 1 all over again. Why? I didn't need a reason to mourn her all over. When it was all over it was like Day 364 again, not great but okay. I'm probably not making myself clear, but its hard to explain the feeling unless you've been there. And I hope you haven't and you won't have to for a long time.

To help myself come to terms with things so when The Day comes I won't freak out, I'm going to purge myself here. I'm going to talk about what I was doing two years ago on this day, sort of a countdown.

I should preface this by telling you that my Mom died of metastisized Colon Cancer. It had spread first through her intestines, her reproductive organs, then to her lungs and, finally, to her liver. In the final days it had probably gone much farther, though we (her family) don't know for sure. She was first diagnosed in 1997 at the age of 44. She was misdiagnosed multiple times before her doctors found out for sure what it was because she was well below the age when they start testing for Colon Cancer. She fought for a long time. Far longer than anyone would have thought.

Here goes nothing.



I spent the weekend driving back and forth to Mom's house to spend time with her. Her last, very aggressive treatment had affected her mind. She would fade in and out of consciousness for long periods of time, but she was awake the whole time. I would be talking to her, thinking she was with me, then I would look at her and realize she hadn't heard a thing I said. She was confused and slightly delusional. There are no words to describe how hard it is for a child to see her mother like that. Since she he was tired and agitated at me being there I didn't stay long. I called later that night to talk to Bill, her boyfriend, about her decline. Apparently she slept, fitfully, after I left and had been asleep, off and on, since. He sounded completely defeated and not really up for having a big discussion so I cut it short. I had paperwork to take care of anyway. We knew the end was coming soon so I was given power of attorney over her finances and property.
Its hard to think about finances when you know your Mom is going to die soon.

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