Five years ago today capped off 75 days of misery. We were in St Louis at a hockey tournament when I got the news I had been expecting for days. MOM is gone.
This story started less than three months before in early November 2015. Grandma Marge had just succumbed to old age days before her 99 birthday. As we were preparing to send our Matriarch the farewell she deserved, Mom became flush heart racing and unable to continue to stand on her own. The ambulance was called and she was taken to the ER, with Dad by her side. We had decided to continue on with the funeral Mass to say goodbye to Grandma Marge.
During the Mass, a beautiful version of the Ava Maria was sung by my niece as her brother played the piano.
As we had our funeral brunch, telling stories and celebrating the life of Grandma, we were waiting to get word from Dad about what was happening with Mom. Not too many updates, other than ‘make a follow-up visit for further testing. ‘
…From November 6th until Thanksgiving we were all kept in the dark as to what the diagnosis was.
On Thanksgiving, I could tell Mom still wasn’t herself, and after we ate Mom broke the news… CANCER!
Shock, disbelief, despair… As the baby of the family, what would I do without my MOMMY?
They hadn’t even pinned the type of cancer… It had spread.
Treatment, NONE that would be effective.
Time left, unsure… not long.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas…
lots of doctors, lots of tests, lots of prayers.
By Christmas, the disease had really taken hold. As a family, we tried to make the best of a nasty situation with presents of laughter, joy and stories of better times. But this was merely a masking of the real pain inside that we all felt.
By New Years we began preparing, hospice was called in, a make-shift hospital room set up at home…
By around January 10th, MOM was all but gone! No communication, just the sounds of agony. Between Dad and my sisters and me, we took turns with her.
We had all said our goodbyes, more than once… as hospice would tell us, any time now.
Mom hung on for few more days until early morning January 17th.
I got the call first thing in the morning, and before Brogan’s team was playing their game for the tournament title, we had a chance to pop into a Catholic Church that was close to our hotel to say a prayer of peace for MOM as I asked her to continue to watch over her baby, as I raise my own babies!
This weekend we happened to be in St Louis again at another hockey tournament, and although we didn’t have a chance to stop in the Church again, I did get a chance to see the church from a unique perspective.
This picture is from 630 ft above taken from the observation window of the Gateway Arch.
The peace I found from the view can never match the peace of a mother holding their child, but I did take a moment and reflect on the 42 years of teaching and molding my MOM gave me as a model to raise these two outstanding little monsters… and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
It was extremely tough 75 days five years ago… and this year I took the time to reflect on the past five years…
Could I have done things differently
with my wife…
with my boys…
with business partners…
and most importantly with myself…
And the answer is unwavering YES, I could and YES I will continue to adjust and do things differently to make Momma Proud.
Life is never easy, but remembering the real suffering by our loved ones can make the daily, weekly, monthly struggle all that more bearable as we try to make the life we live the best we can with the resources we create for ourselves.
MOMS can never be replaced… So if you are lucky enough to have one Tell her you love and appreciate her.Do something special with the life she has given you through birth!