Mom and ovarian cancer officially signed a truce last night after cancer realized that it would never be able to take away her strength, tenacity, spirit, nor will to fight. The terms of the truce were one mortal coil in exchange for eternal life. It was a deal definitely favoring mom.
While it was a long, hard two years, it was also a time for which we can be grateful. Mom was able to grow friendships, dote on her beloved grandchildren, visit loved ones in Ohio, come to Oregon for Thanksgiving, feel the support of her massive community of “Prayer Warriors” from around the world, and love her dear husband (and fiercest advocate) DR more each passing day. Illness can bring us closer if we let it and mom’s unwavering spirit throughout was both an inspiration and a rallying cry for us. As well, the family is now, thankfully, free of regular visits to fucking medical facilities. Yes, swearing is sometimes warranted.
There are two “good” ways to die: suddenly, quietly, and peacefully in one’s sleep or quietly, peacefully, and painlessly encircled by loved ones. Mom got the latter after a few days in hospice surrounded by an ongoing party with 20+ visitors, food, music, laughter, and tears. Last night DR, her sons, and her minister helped her say goodbye to this world and move on to her next big adventure. Our working definition for Quality of Life was Dignity and Comfort and mom had a lot of both.
She requested that anyone who wants to honor her memory with a gift, flowers, etc. to rather donate to Community Hospice of NE Florida. They definitely are worth it. Thanks hospice!
Now mom can see her parents, her sister whom she lost over 30 years ago, family, and her friends, all of whom came together to prepare a place for her. I’m sure they’re having one hell of a party (hmm, maybe ‘heck’ is more appropriate in this case) right now. Once the excitement dies down, she can get back to her favorite activity: watching over her family.
What’s left for us now is to remember a life of love and compassion, to feel our own sadness while also remembering that, like any person of faith, this is the goal for which she’s been striving all her life. I feel she would want us all to hug one another a little tighter and to remember a life of love rather than lament losing her. She had little tolerance for sadness, especially when it comes to loved ones.
I’ve never doubted that I was worthy of being loved and that I could do whatever I set my mind to; mom is the bedrock of that belief and I cannot think of a greater gift any person can give another. Whenever mom said goodbye to me or Michael, she would say, “I love you like a rock” (based on the Paul Simon song)… a special reminder for “her boys” that no one loved us like mom and no one ever will again.
If we want her memory to live on, we simply need to remind our loved ones that they are eternally lovable. In this vein, I am struck by the number of people who call mom one of their best friends, who comment on her unwavering optimism, and who have felt the warmth of her love.
I think often of Horatio’s parting words to Hamlet and they, paraphrased, seem appropriate for mom’s passing
Now cracks a noble heart.
Good night sweet mom,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.