Sunday, January 15, 2017


It used to be the sound of a pop top on a can, now it is the opening and shutting of the kitchen door, the opening and shutting of the kitchen door, the opening and shutting of the kitchen door. I can't speak my anger and fear, so I'll write it. Seven years ago on an extremely cold MLK Jr. weekend, Larry was sent home with orders to not empty his truck and to stay inside while we wait 4 long horrible days until open heart surgery. I stood in the room while the docs looked at the immense blockages and could not understand why there was no pain--their mouths agape at the arteries dysfunction. Quintuple bypass.

The sounds I mentioned are the sounds to me of impending death. Maybe I'll leave it there.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Where Can I Write This?

I sat with Larry's aunt and cousin while she received the truth about pancreatic cancer. My mom's last diagnosis was pancreatic cancer after 30 years of many other illnesses. Uncle Jimmy is in the hospital with his own life threatening bout of pneumonia, and abscess in his lung and many other illnesses. This couple was only apart for about a week one time for their great nieces wedding in all their years together. Jimmy is devastated at Barb's illness. Tracy is an only child and all this falls on her shoulders as she supports her own little family.

I want to say the doctor was the kindest, gentlest, honest and careful presenter of the situation I could ever imagine or want. He was direct but kind. Barb has a lot to think about how she wants her last few months to be. But I'm sitting there knowing mom was given a few months and lived a week. Barb and Jim are so connected I don't even think they can live without each other. Tracy is also in charge of her 100 year old grandmother and lost her home and almost her child in a horrific fire a year ago.

I cannot even recall how my mom was told of her diagnosis-- was I even there? I picked her up and took her home. She told me this was it, she was too tired to go on. and she was. Mom and I had this little "game" after a serious bout of anything, is this it, mom? No, this isn't it. and she would snap back to her perky feisty self, she was given two or three months, she went home to hospice, I went home, my brother and sister were there, there was plenty of time, She died before the hospice nurse arrived. I was there for the flushing of the brand new pain meds down the toilet and into the water system so they could not be misused or stolen. She had just looked around at all her pictures everywhere around her, closed her eyes and left us. So quick I missed it.

Since I wrote this, Aunt Barbara has chosen to go with pain medication only. It does not change the outcome of one of the most vicious cancers we experience.