August 2019 my mother began complaining about a strange pain in her back. Numerous GP
visits diagnosed sciatica. By November 2019 we were persuading the GP to do a house visit. With much resistance from the receptionists we finally managed to get her seen at home, as now she was losing the ability to walk. Diagnosis severe sciatica. After staying with her the night making sure she was fed and helping her to the bathroom I knew this was not sciatica. December 2oth my sister and I decided to get my mother into hospital. She was admitted to A&E Friday night December 20th 2019. By Sunday 22nd December we were given the devastating news my mother was dying from a terminal cancer known as metastatic cancer. A cancer that spreads from different body parts. We were told that she had a lump on her lung which had spread to her spine. Within a few days she had one treatment of radiotherapy. Spent six weeks in hospital and as of February 7th 2020 she is now in a hospice. Within this short space of time a torrent of feelings and emotions began in me. From wanting to help look after her, while working and looking after my family to beginning my personal grieving process. Preparing to say goodbye.....
Firstly. I do not want to say goodbye. I am angry, I am sad seeing this disease quickly ravage my mother. Feeling powerless and fighting to stay hopeful and strong for my family, for her.
To embrace her end, our end. I don't feel ready but time will not wait for me. I have to prepare now to say goodbye. Say goodbye to all of the dreams and plans I envisioned. Grieving for a relationship that I always wanted and never had. Feeling sad for her life, her past choices, her suffering now. Each day feeling so different and so final. Preparing to say goodbye to her and to me as I will never be the same. In a few months our lives have changed forever. I am not ready to say goodbye forever.
Visiting her at the hospice and cancer wards we, as a family, are facing death everyday.
It is sad and traumatic. How do I face this and continue to be happy while tethered to my pain and grief? One thing that gets me out out of bed every morning and continue to pursue my dreams and goals is that LIFE IS FOR LIVING. I am going through this experience and if I can be of help to others who are going through this or will go through this then this is my positive.
Feb 12 2020 we are told by the MacMillan team to prepare our children for mum's passing. I am struggling to come to terms with this myself. So many different emotions. Some days I'm numb and other days the tears keep falling. I know I have to do my best to speak with them again but it feels so final and I am scared. Never known this world without my mother in it. I am reading all of the literature and advice. Later on after preparing myself for the talk I find my teenager already in tears. She is looking through photos and saying she doesn't want her nan to die. I hug her and cry with her. We speak about dying and death and cancer. My 22 year old son joins us and hugs us. We are a family united in love and grief. We decide to visit my mother together and make the most of the time we have. What does goodbye mean right now? I believe in the hereafter but that exactly is I don't know.
What I do know is the end of my mother's life is soon and we are very sad and heart broken.
every day brings different emotions. With the thought of eating not appetising feelings of weakness and extreme tiredness take their toll. Visiting with my mother in hospice I feel hope, if only while I'm with her. It Got Me thinking about stepping outside of my own pain now to helping her leave this world gracefully. It has shown me that love is very strong from us as a family to friends trying to support from a distance. Which is not what is wanted. However,mindful that death is feared by our society. As a family we are trying to embrace death as it will happen to us all. I have got a memory jar for us as a family. We are taking photos with here where appropriate. This,I hope will give us some comfort in the difficult months ahead.