Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Roller Coaster Ride of a Terminal Cancer Diagnosis

Moving On

I am now an orphan at forty seven, missing the influence that my mother and father once had in my life here on earth. I know they are my guardian angels now and I often find myself saying out loud “right mom, right dad?” One of my regrets is not appreciating life sooner than I have, and taking for granted the simple things like not being hungry or the ability to see, or valuing and cherishing all of the time I had with my folks.  There are just too many to list. but  my mother’s passing has a profound impact on my life.

It's been eighteen months since my mother departed to heaven. The scars are still deep and I am not sure if they will ever heal, but I know that this loss is to condition my character. I am faithful and spiritual and realize sometimes we cannot control our fate I await God’s flourishes and know that he has grand plan for me. The best is yet to come. Sometimes I wonder if this is a test of my will. Others times I feel like Joeb . I cry out often “please lord why have you forsaken me I will not stop believing no matter what you throw my way.” It is very easy to become discouraged and give up, but my faith in God has kept me positive as I know that he is conditioning me for the best future possible.

Although the healing process has begun and I spend less time weeping, those images of my mother's ailing body  do not dissipate far from my mind. No child so have to see their parent suffer or vice versa.  For any of you that have suffered the same fate you know exactly what I am talking about in one horrible word CANCER.   The definition: Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. I am too familiar with that devastating diagnosis and how it affects the patient and the family. There are so many emotions associated with that disgusting word.  I just cringe when I hear that word now.  My definition of the disease is: an altered family life invading our minds with a roller-coaster of emotions.

My kindred soul was hopeful at first thinking that if anyone would give cancer a fighting chance it would be my mother despite the grim prognosis of stage IV lung cancer with metastases to the brain.  I mean there is no way this was happening again for the fourth time.   I thought it was just a horrible nightmare that I could not wake up from.   It was real though and I still believed in miracles. That is one thing we all have is hope.  Sometimes we spend much focus on ourselves at first thinking " what will I do without them."  Not even realizing what the word terminal even means to the loved one with the diagnosis.  Sometimes we cry for ourselves when we should be crying for our sick loved one.  Cancer is a disgusting disease.  It's truly perplexing that there is no cure, but that is a Pandora's box that  I don't want to open just now.   Long story short the cancer medical community requires a tremendous overhaul.   Eighty percent of donations go to fundraising activities that's just crazy!   When I called the Canadian Cancer Society they could not offer one thing that my mother needed like a simple wig.  All they had was literature, a website and a warm voice on the phone end of story. 

As the months passed my feelings of optimism soon turned to hopelessness. This disease was taking its toll on my mother’s body, she was deteriorating quickly. Although her body was ailing her soul and spirit was flourishing. Faced with the prospect of dying her spirit remained full of life she was always smiling and always loving. We spent some of the best moments together. Even in her moment of body weakness her soul was strong and courageous. I somehow possessed an inner strength to show her that I would be okay.
I think the most profound moment in the journey was the day before her body died. Mother was pretty much spending her days sleeping. When she was awake she was confused and continuously mentioned to me that she was going on a trip she wanted me to come with her on that trip, but I explained that I was not ready just yet. My heart was breaking piece by piece, but I knew that I would be joining her on the voyage someday just not now.

Near the final days she would mention dreams of her and her father fishing. I knew that this was a sign that she would meet with him soon. I would sit by her bedside so when she opened her eyes she would see my smiling face looking at her. My job was to give her peace and solace as she was about to depart us here and move on to her next voyage. Reflecting back I have no idea how I possessed that strength, but I did and I know that this made an impact on her peaceful departure and my ability to live my life peacefully as well. When I lied beside her on the bed we had a conversation, I promised I would carry on her legacy if that is even possible. I knew she understood because one tear came from here eye. At that moment her spirit was leaving and I was blessed to have felt her presence as she departed. A song was playing as her spirit departed and I believe it was her hand selecting that song, After the Gold Rush by Neil Young. It was definitely her and the divinity of this amazing thing we call life and afterlife.

It was indescribable and no amount of words can describe the profound impact it had. I knew she was gone, but her body did not shut down until the following day. The next day it was just her body and I knew she had left I just knew. I sat by her bedside while she took her final breaths. She was gone the pain the suffering were finally gone. She was going to place were no pain nor suffering existed.

Sometimes it seems all so real, I have difficulty believing that she is no longer here on earth, but I know that she is here all around guiding me through the difficult times. I hear her voice in my head coaching me to follow in her legacy. My mother my best friend is saving a place for me in heaven. I will miss the many milestones she will physically be a part of here on earth miss telling her I love her and miss her contagious zest to live each day like her last.

No matter what the circumstance we face in life we must remember to not let these losses tarnish our soul and allow bitterness in. I could easily be bitter, but I know that would not allow me to flourish.  My mother’s passing reminded me how scared my life truly is. I am not going to lie it wasn’t and still isn’t easy, but I know this is the path I am meant to travel for now.