My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 1986. She went through all of the traditional surgeries and treatments. All of them were successful to some degree, and each of them helped her to "bounce back". Perhaps because of this, it was somewhat difficult to really believe that mother was dying.
Throughout the years and the treatments, mother never complained. She seldom even allowed any of her family to know that she was experiencing any pain. She continued to be the strong one in the family; always concerned about all of the other family members and any problems they were having. In fact, even her own pastor didn't fully realize how sick she was.
By the fall of 1994, she was going through what we, as her family, thought was another "down" period. The only problem was, that this time, there was nothing else the doctors could do to help bring her "up" again. Since I lived 100 miles away from her, I made special plans to be with her on Thanksgiving Day of 1994. She knew I was going to make sure my husband and daughters were with me, and my brother and his family were going to be present as well. My parents celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary just a few days before Thanksgiving, and, as promised, the entire family was with her on Thanksgiving. Even though mother had not been eating well, she ate a good meal that day. What none of us, her family, realized was that that would be the last meal she ever ate. That night, after everyone left she began experiencing terrible pain. The pain never abated.
One of the things I regret most is the fact that she saw me cry just before I left her on Thanksgiving Day. My tears were because of the agony I felt about losing my mother. Unfortunately, for some reason, she thought my husband and I were having maritial trouble. She thought that was the reason for my tears. I only wish I'd known what she was thinking -- so I could have laid her fears to rest.
About 2 days after Thanksgiving mother went into a coma. I saw her again on the weekend after Thanksgiving, but she never even knew I was there. I touched her and kissed her and told her that I loved her -- but she never knew I was there. The following Thursday morning at 3:45 AM my father called me to tell me she was gone. Even though it's been a year and a half since she died, I still miss her terribly. I'm still not sure how to cope with losing my mother. She's the one person in the world who is always "there" for you, an ardent supporter, and your most enthusiastic cheerleader you'll ever have. Even today, there are still times when my heart breaks all over again when I realize that I can't call her, talk to her, or just be with her.