Hi everybody. I was originally going to talk about addictions today but I’ll put that on the back-burner for another day.
My friend Vicky who just joined Facebook, after months and months of urging, posted a comment that made me think of my mom. A memory, a good memory, that I suppress along with a host of others.
She wrote, “Were your ears ringing Christmas Eve night? We were in church – Silent Night was playing and I was remembering how you, your mom , Jules & I would go to midnight mass- I shed some tears.”
Well that did it. The tears welled up and I started to cry. Thanks Vick. Then I started to think about how shitty the world is without the people I love. I have lost a lot of people to death. It’s not at all comforting but we all have to deal with it eventually. It made me think of my mom’s death and how I can’t watch movies or TV shows where someone s dying, is in the hospital, has cancer, etc. I think they call that TRANSFER.
In case you didn’t know my mother, her name was Phyllis. Phyllis was a pip. Funny, strong and definitely outside the box. She was a straight shooter – so if you didn’t want to hear the truth – you shouldn’t have asked her for her opinion. Everybody loved mom. Even when she tried to run them over with her car – but that’s another story.
My mom Phyllis died of sepsis at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair in 2005 after fighting cancer for 24 years. Twenty four years! That’s amazing to me. When I think about it, I don’t know if I could be that strong. Radiation, chemo, chemo, radiation and finally chemo – once per week for the rest of her life. She went into remission twice but it always came back.
She tried to refuse treatment, but the doctor fought with her to keep her alive. I never really realized HOW SICK she actually was. Maybe I was in denial. Her personality was so effervescent, it never clicked. When I look at photos of her right before she died, I can see how debilitated she became.
I remember the last time that she went to see Dr. Lee and she told her how far the cancer had progressed. She hoped that she would go into remission again, but that didn’t happen. It seems like yesterday.
I was waiting for my mom and dad to come home. My Aunt Mimi was upstairs and I was in the basement cleaning poop off the dog’s butt. I heard the door open and my aunt say, “How did you make out?” The next thing I heard broke my heart in half. My mother was absolutely hysterically crying and sobbing as if she couldn’t believe that she still had, at full force I might add, this cancer that was NOT going to go away.
I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to run upstairs and hug her with all my might but I too had started sobbing and I wanted to stay strong for her. So I finished up with the dog, choked back my tears and slowly went upstairs. There were no words. I couldn’t say anything to her that would help, so I just hugged her and hugged her and hugged her.
She died in a semi-conscious state while my dad, my cousin Elaine, my husband John and I were all with her. She opened her eyes to look at every one of us – I was the last one. I held her hands and said, “Mommy, I love you. I don’t want you to go, but if you have to, it’s ok.” My mom closed her eyes and the doctor came rushing in. We asked him why he rushed in and he told us that her heartbeat just slowed significantly. I told him that I told her that it was alright to go and he told me that it was the best thing I could have ever done.
I still question that decision. Fighting with my selfishness and my selflessness. I don’t care how old you are, you always need your mother. Losing people you love is difficult. You miss them so much but hang on to the memories. I suppress. It doesn’t get any easier but it gets easier to deal with or to hide.
Shortly after she died my husband said to me, “Jacq, some day you’ll talk about her and laugh.” That may be true, but how freakin’ long does that take? Does anybody believe that? Is it true? I still cry everyday. The holidays are the worst. Thank God I still have my dad and he’s healthy and doing well.
If you knew my mom and have a good memory of her, please post it. If you didn’t know my mom and you have a memory of someone who you loved and lost, please post that too. As much as I don’t like to depend of people, everyone needs someone to lean on, a shoulder to cry on and someone to help you through the worst times and the best times of your life.