I forwent being with my 12 and 8 year old kids on this Mother’s Day for the first time. My daughter was upset and made me a picture frame to bring with me. My son wasn’t happy either although, he wasn’t quite as emotional. Instead, I took a last minute flight to Texas to help bring my step-mother home from the hospital to hospice in her home. She has battled breast cancer for 5 years and they have decided to stop treatment that wasn’t doing the job and it was just decreasing the quality of what life she has left. So here I was doing last minute laundry, grocery shopping, packing and organizing with my husband who now had to deal with not only his job and coaching, but now everything I usually do too.
When I arrived, I didn’t know what to expect. My dad and my two sisters met me at the airport and told me she looked good for what they had expected. What the heck does THAT mean? Well, I soon found out as we headed straight to the hospital. She looked weak, thinning short hair but hey, she still had color in those cheeks of hers and as I walked in the room her face lit up with tears filling her eyes. It was GREAT to see her! We all just sat and visited as if there were no cancer. Catching up on life with her, my Dad and sisters. I wondered what it would be like to know you were dying. I wondered what she would want to talk about and hear as she drifted in out from all the medication that was keeping her comfortable. The truth is, it didn’t matter, she was just plain and simple happy as all heck that we were there!!
The next day, on Mother’s Day, as my Dad went to bring her home, my sisters and I went mad trying to find a Party City to decorate the house. We eventually found one and I have to say, we did a rockin job! She was transported in a stretcher to her new hospital bed at home. She squealed in delight as she saw the decorations and ALL of the family waiting for her, her two kids and the 5 of us on my dads side. That afternoon and evening was spent having such a great time visiting ordering food singing (my sister did a funny rap) laughing our butts off and after I did her make-up we all did a big photo shoot. She told us she had the best Mother’s Day of her entire life! Yes, success!
Time to say good bye. My sister and I had to fly home the next day. We spent the day dealing with hospice and organizing as best we could for Dad. In all the chaos, my sister lost it. GREAT, I was trying to stay strong until I left, but whenever she looses it, I do too. Fortunately, one of the friends visiting was a grief counselor and my sister got the opportunity to spend time crying with Rita (my step mom). Then it was my turn, tears yes hugs yes saying I love you… abundant! But what struck me the most was how much SHE was comforting US! She got to say everything you would ever want to say to someone that they will always carry with them throughout their life. I will always be grateful for that.
I am home now and have checked in daily. I know she doesn’t have much time, but I have to say, this is one Mother’s Day I will never forget. I will ALWAYS think of her on my own Mother’s Day and remember what it means to really say goodbye. We should all be so lucky to have that opportunity and now I say “I love you”, give hugs and give thanks for my health every day as often as I can!!! I feel so blessed and I know Rita does too!