Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy Holidays?

As I avoid grading by writing this post, I'd have to answer the question above by saying "Yes," but with qualifications.

You know it's been a tough holiday season when spending the night in the hospital feels like the "norm."

No, I haven't hurt myself or anything, but we discovered right before Thanksgiving that my mom has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. It's spread to her liver and lymph nodes. It's terminal, so nothing can be done but make her as comfortable as we can and spend as much time as possible with her.

While a lot of tears have been shed (and will continue to), I keep on having a saying, supposedly attributed to Dr. Seuss, run through my head: "Don't be sad that it's over. Smile because it happened." I'm trying to keep that spirit in mind.

The likelihood of me not being sad when my mom dies, or goes through this physical struggle, is zero. I mean, she's my mom, off course I'll be sad. But at the same time, I smile because I was (and still am) lucky to have her for my mom. I am blessed to have a constant cheerleader in my corner, a wonderful example of patience and perseverance (she and my dad raised ten kids, have been married over 50 years, and they have a combined 30+ grand and great-grandchildren), and someone who's quiet composure masks a woman who can let loose verbal zingers that take you aback and can make you laugh at the same time. And to think most of us kids blame , ahem, attribute our sense of humor to our dad. Mom's got a doozy of one too!

So, as I'm in the midst of the holiday season, feeling sorry for myself and the unexpected trips to the hospital ER because we find out another quirk to my mom's prognosis (hello blood clots!), I am trying to focus on family, because that is the opportunity this diagnosis has provided my family. The chance to say what we want and feel both to our mom and each other; to reconnect; and to bond over how wonderful our mom, and our dad, really are.

This isn't the ideal scenario, but I'm smiling because wonderful things are coming out of this horrible situation and because of the wonderful woman my mom is.


LuJean Brockman said...

Patty--so sorry about your Mom!! You are a strong person and have a wonderful family to help get you through all of this! I lost my Mom at 77 when I was 36 yrs old, so I understand how it is..You will always have all the good memories to rely on. Take care--Love, LuJean

Julie said...

Wow, my heart just breaks for you. What a difficult thing to endure, especially this time of year. While I was reading your post I thought of John 14:27 that says "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Enjoy those special memories with your mom. I have always admired your strength and independence. I am so sorry, and God be with you during this difficult time.

Mal said...

I'm sorry to hear, Patty. Keep your chin up as best you can--and don't worry if it doesn't seem like you can at all. I hope the New Year finds you in a better place, even if the worst happens to bring you there. I'm happy your mum has you and the rest of her family nearby to help her through this, and that you all have each other to help you through this!