As we sat having breakfast you said, “I want you to go home. I’m fine. You have been here 4 days.Your family needs you, and I am not going to be a burden to you or any of my children.”
Ugh, that “b” word. Burden. Mom, you are not and never have been a burden.
You know what is a burden? NOT being with you every minute of every day right now is a huge burden on my heart. To know you are sitting in your living room, knitting or doing puzzles, by yourself, with the cancer tumors growing daily, breaks my heart.
As I push the grocery cart through the store, I remember the grocery store you took me to when we lived in upstate New York. They had a little café where you’d buy me a powder doughnut and grape soda. It was such a treat…what a sweet memory. Then I’m snapped back to the present, and I visualize you by yourself, your tumors hurting you, and I cry.
When I’m pumping gas, I remember the big white Chevy station wagon we had when I was 5. Then, I look back at my own car, snap back to the present day, visualize you by yourself, and I cry.
How can I let these days go by and NOT be with you. Each second is so very precious…
Being with you is not a burden—it has always been a privilege and a joy.
You see mom, I love you so very much, and I’m going to miss you.
You want to know what “b” words you are?
You are a blessing and you are brave.
You bless others with your servant’s heart and your sweet demeanor. In what would be your last visit with your head and neck oncologist, you took him homemade bread. You had promised him you would bring him some, and although the first batch didn’t work, you were determined to make another. As you walked in that office, one hand gripping the gift bag, your other hand gripping my arm, my eyes filled with tears. What a bitter sweet moment.
When your Hospice nurse was visiting last week, two other Hospice employees called, rather than get annoyed, you thanked them profusely for calling and told them how you looked forward to their visit. With your stomach hurting, several tumors being aggravated by the simple act of sitting, you were polite, humble, and friendly. (I was annoyed–they knew you had someone visiting form their office, why did everyone have to call right then and there??!) What a blessing to have such a positive outlook amidst so much pain and suffering. You bless us with the lessons of love and patience you continue to teach us.
This past Christmas you knew would be your last, and you wanted to host it at your house. You decorated, you cooked, you smiled, and you laughed the whole day. But I saw you doubled over and holding your stomach when you thought no one was looking. We gave you extra long hugs that day because we all knew it would be the last “Merry Christmas” we’d say.
You were so very brave that day.
When you had your first surgery, we knew it was ground breaking, but it wasn’t until a follow-up visit, that we found out you were only the second person in the world to have this surgery. Dr. Z asked if he could film you with his iPhone. You were so sweet on that…I teared up because you were so sweet and innocent. I wondered at what medical meeting he would show this, and would the audience know just what a brave, sweet, dear mother and wife you had been?
And you were brave through every appointment, scan, surgery, and consultation. With every doctor’s visit, each test result, each procedure, you said, “God has His plan for my life, and if this is His plan, He’ll take care of it. I’m not afraid to die and be with Him.”
The doctors didn’t know how to respond—how do they respond to someone with such incredible faith?
And your faith is the GREATEST gift you have given us. You always told me that no matter what happened, God had a perfect and good plan. And even now your strong belief in God carries you forward. Your Bible is always with you near the couch or near your bed. Each night you read and study it. When I come in to give you a good-night kiss and you are sitting there, your small body on that big bed, with your Bible open on your lap, I want to freeze time, I want to cry, I want to scream out to God.
You are such a blessing, why does God have to take you now? I’m not ready? Where did life go?
You bless me with stories. You give me small things you want me to have – a figurine, a bracelet, a Christmas ornament. I hang onto every word as you tell me the story behind each. You lovingly wrap things up and tell me to give it to my children. I write down each story and pack it with the item. I want to hold onto every moment of your life.
How did those moments pass so quickly? Why didn’t I appreciate them more?
Mom, one last favor before you are called home to Jesus, please don’t use the “b” word – burden—again.
You blessed us in so many ways…
Love you always.