Day 36

This is it.

Four weeks ago tonight I was wheeling my Mom into hospice. And we haven't looked back.

And now her nurse practitioner says we are nearing the end. We are closer than we've been before. A day or two. Or a week.

Nothing has really changed. Mom speaks rarely, and when she does, it is a mere whispered word. She spends the day with her eyes closed.

I never know if Mom knows I am there.

I had the discussion with the nurse practitioner by phone. I was at work. And thus the torture began.

I visioned Mom laying motionless in her hospice bed, without her children at her side.

I looked back to when her oncologist told us her prognosis. I even thought back to six years ago when the doctors first found the tumor.

I saw Mom heading to PTA meetings or picking me up from school when I was ill.

I remembered Mom putting orange ribbons in my hair the morning of Girl Scout meetings.

But I can't remember Mom during my adult years before the tumor.

Why can't I remember her before the tumor?

I don't want my memories marred by visions of hospital beds after brain surgery. I don't want to remember hospice visits.

Even at my baby shower Mom was sick.

But what about before then?

I vaguely remember her at my high school graduation. My move to Chicago and back. My wedding. All good memories, yet I can't remember specific conversations or joyous hugs. And I hate that.

Amara will never know her grandmother to be healthy. For as long as my daughter's been alive, my Mom has had cancer.

But me. I want to remember Mom cancer-free.

Do those memories ever come back?


  1. My grandmother experienced a long battle with lung cancer, which left her in hospice at the end. It was so hard to get that image of her out of my mind, so I've placed a photo of the grandma I want to remember--the plump, smiling woman I grew up loving--on my dresser. I see it every morning and after time, when I think of my grandma, THAT image comes to mind first. It takes time, but it will happen. xoxo


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