This #ShowMeYourBrave post brings me to tears. I can feel Nina’s everlasting pain over the loss of her mother, and the agony of seeing her mom suffer this way. Call your Mom. Tell her you love her. Life’s so tragically short, sometimes. To all of you who have lost your mother: I am so sorry. My heart’s with you all, always, but most especially this weekend with Mother’s Day here in Canada.
I was 13 when my Mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer. She was a 29 year survivor when the cancer spread further in 2013 and there was nothing more that could be done to save her. My Dad, my sister and I looked after Mom at home until she died.
It was March 2014, a week and a half before her death, after she had been confined to a hospital bed in my old bedroom at their house. My sister and I were taking turns staying overnight to help my Dad with her care, and allow him to get some rest. It was my turn on Friday night and she was sleeping in her bed and I “slept” in a reclining chair next to her. She was restless and couldn’t sleep for any length of time without being uncomfortable. I was listening for her in case she needed anything.
It was just after midnight & Mom woke up throwing up green bile and sick to her stomach. I was scared but instinct kicked in. I calmed my Dad, who had woken also, and proceeded to wipe Mom up and tried to make her comfortable. She was crying about the pain and asked what she had done to deserve this? She was finished trying to be brave and I could see the fear in her eyes. I managed to stay calm and help her through the longest night of my life. On Sunday, the nurses from CCAC & Dr. from Stedman Hospice began increasing her morphine to give her more relief from the pain.
With the morphine being pumped in steady, she fell into a sleep and hadn’t spoken in 4 days. It was Thursday afternoon.
Dad wanted to wash Mom up but both him & my sister were hesitant. It took everything in me to be brave and take command of the situation. I told them how to help and did the washing myself. This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do–here was the woman who had given birth to me, had raised me and fought cancer so hard for so many years, now reduced to a shell of her former self. It was her body but it wasn’t her anymore.
I longed to hear her voice once more and see her sparkling eyes, but her spirit was done fighting. She took her final breath the next day, with my Dad, my sister and myself at her side.
I still miss her terrible and it still haunts me to remember her suffering the last few weeks of her life.
I love her.
The #ShowMeYourBrave Project asks people, “What’s the bravest, scariest, or most intimidating thing you’ve ever done?”. The idea of the project is to share stories of everyday bravery and human resilience to bring us closer together. In sharing, we not only find our voices, but we find support, allies, and others who have faced similar challenges. If you would like to submit your story, we would love to feature your bravery here.