One of the truths about motherhood that I have learned is that having a child makes you more cognizant, more appreciative of your own mother. You feel closer to her than ever, like you’ve been inducted into a secret society that she’s been a member of for years and now you both know something that no one else does.
At least, that’s what happened to me. (( I’m not saying that everything has been nonstop-happiness and good feelings between me and my mom since LB’s debut. It hasn’t. But it has definitely made me closer to her.))
Which makes this next part of my life so hard.
Yesterday, I went to my mom’s appointment with her oncologist and we signed her up for hospice. We got her some long-acting pain meds and some meds for breakthrough pain. We ordered her a hospital bed for the living room. We went over what to expect in the next days and weeks. We cried. I took pictures. (I can’t help it. It’s what I do. It’s like a compulsion.)
Her doctor wouldn’t commit to a time frame, a decision with which I completely agree. I’ve seen patients and family members get so fixated on a date, if they’re given one, that it completely ruins what time is left.
But the not knowing is hard. The Littlest Brewster’s birthday is this weekend (!!!!) – will my mom be strong enough to come up for the day? Should I go to Charlotte instead and spend time with her and celebrate LB’s birthday some other time? Should I go to Charlotte over Christmas rather than spending it at home with my husband and daughter? What parts of my life do I put on hold or miss completely to spend more time with my mom?
The thing is – I know what she would say. She would not want me to postpone the Littlest Brewster’s birthday. She would not want me to miss her first Christmas. This is her favorite time of year and she would hate to feel like she’s ruining it.
The plan is to go down next weekend, the 28th or so. Jessie and John will be there. Mike and Sarah will be there. My moms’s twin sister will be there. So we will be there.
But it definitely makes an impossibly hard time even harder to feel so torn, so uncertain about where I should be. I want to tell everyone to bugger off and just go sit with my mom from now until the end, be it days or weeks from now. But I can’t.
Life continues around you, even though you’re in the middle of the hardest thing. And you have to buck up and continue too.