My mom has spent the past while living with cancer. We have all been living with cancer. The days in the hospital sitting by her bed was easy compared to leaving her overnight and anxious for the next morning when I could talk to her again and wondering what was next. As mom continued to decline, my sisters and I spent the weeks planning around the weekends, trying to give Dad a break and each of us a break. My brother took the day to day with both Mom and Dad. We had moments of great depth and love and moments of deep sadness and worry.
I always saw my father as no nonsense, get-the-job-done, tenacious spirit. I now see my father as a man with compassion, tenderness and endless patience. Last week he managed to get my very weak mother from her wheelchair into the truck and took her for a drive to the look-off. They sat together in the truck, just loving the view and their lives together. My siblings have a strength and courage I had not witness so keenly before, managing the reality of home care at the end of life, their own emotions while protecting and supporting their own families.
Life has changed forever. Now that she is gone, my mom is in my heart, but she will no longer be holding me and pointing out my strength and grace when I need it. Mom was the epitome of grace. She did not cry, she did not talk about fear, she just went through it with her beautiful smile and her humour, bringing me down from my 'big picture view' to the mundane. All she really asked for was for us to be with her, to visit her. And though I thought I had accepted this cancer in our lives, I see now, that my fatigue after a visit, my anxiety before were indicators I was really not accepting the way things were. I continually saw the ground we were losing and not really loving what we still had. I kept trying to find faith or freedom by exploring the bigger picture rather than sitting in the daily moments with her. I guess freedom is not in the big picture of life where I usually sit analyzing my experiences, rather it is in the moment, connected with someone we love.
Once again mom... you did it once again.