At the end of May, 1998, my mom, Joan, was diagnosed with internal malignant melanoma in her lung. The oncologist estimated that it had been there for at least a year, given the size of the tumor, but my mom was in such "good health" overallthat any signs or symptoms were missed. A primary site on the skin was never found, making it a rare cancer. I lived three hours away but went home as much as I could during the first two months. Traveling with her to different hospitals and cancer centers. She had an operation to remove the tumor in July that wasvery successful. Treatment after that would be with durgs and radiation.
She got sick with stomach flu, however, and that delayed her treatment time. Within weeks the cancer spread fast, eventually going to her liver, bones, and brain. I spent the last three months with her, taking care of her, talking to her, just being with her, until she passed away on November 19, 1998 at 4:30 a.m.
Through this all she kept her humor, fighting will and concern for others. She said shenever realized how many people cared for her. She had friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors stopping over all the time to bring food, help me clean, shop orjust to talk to her. She received cards every day. So many people prayed for her. Her church rallied for her. I tried and really believed that she was going to beat this horrible monster. She was my only parent, I have no siblings. We were our own little family, she was my best friend. She was always calling me, or I her,and I sent her flowers every Valentine's day.
The last week of her life was spent at home, as was her whole battle, and we finally had Hopsice care help. She had a stroke on the 17 and passed two days later, holding my hand. Two of the most special people in her life were with us, and continue to help me. As my mom was dying, she seemed to be struggling to stay here with me. I held her hand and told her that if she needed to rest, if she had somewhere else to go, that she should go and I would be o.k. here. I told her how much I loved her, and didn't get to hear her say it to me. But she squeezed my hand, andI know how much she loved me.
She was the most graceful, beautiful, kindest person I've ever known. She had a lastingimpact on everyone she knew. I talk to her every day, I miss her every minute. There is a deep hurt in my soul that will never go away. No one should have to see someone they love suffer and go through horrible treatments for a horrible disease. No one should live or die this way. I find it very hard to go on somedays, even though it's been over a year. But I do go on and she continues to teach and guide me, and I know she will always until we meet again someday.
I love you mom, I miss you mom. I will never forget the 29 years I was blessed to share with you.