We were always close, though we did have the typical love/hate relationship many moms and daughters share. However, my amazing mother still ‘enjoyed’ life even when she knew she was dying. I remember, immediately following her diagnosis, my mother didn’t want to go to a Cancer specialist. She was so tired of being sick and running to so many different doctors, she was going to just see what happened. I was able to convince her to go to see a Cancer specialist. In my mind, I did not want to accept the reality of what was happening. The reality was, she was on her deathbed. For me, she put on a smile and a positive attitude while we had her first visit with a Cancer doctor at Cedar’s in Los Angeles. The doctor was highly recommended and very busy. So busy that we were first told that her first available appointment wasn’t for 3 months. I remember telling the receptionist my mother wouldn’t make it. They squeezed my mom in for an appointment a few days later. For me, my mother put on a smile and a positive outlet for the specialist.
The day of the appointment, the doctor looked at all of my mother’s tests and gave my mother a complete physical. She said she had to be honest. It didn’t look promising. My mother was in Stage 4. Me, I just could not accept death so I kept on making all kinds of suggestions, hoping for a miracle. Chemo, radiation, new treatment…anything. The doctor said ‘the best thing we can do, is make sure your mother is comfortable.’ I was angry because I thought nobody would even try SOMETHING. Again, the reality was, ‘SOMETHING’ did not exist. The doctor said if my mother did Chemo, she might live 1 week longer but she would suffer even worse. Radiation was not an option either. Because of her overall health, she didn’t qualify for any experimental drugs or treatments. The Cancer specialist had nothing positive to say.
I remember saying to my mother ‘we’ll find somebody else.’ My mother took my hand, squeezed it and smiled. She then recommended we get something to eat. She knew I was upset so while we were having lunch, she said we’ll try another doctor. She said she was feeling a little ‘better’. With Cancer, even when you are in Stage 4, you can feel ‘better’ at times. However, it’s just a short false sense of hope.
The following day, I was with my mother while she was sick in bed, in her own bedroom. I remember she said she felt as if she needed to go to the hospital. I called an ambulance and they were at my mother’s place within 10 minutes. This would be the last time my mother would spend anytime in her place.
They rushed her to Cedar’s. The very busy waiting area meant my dying mother was not a priority. She laid in the stretcher, suffering. Hours later, they wheeled her to a room. This would be the room my mother would spend a few weeks in. This would also be a place I spent much of my time at.
During the two weeks in the hospital, my mother had her ok days but mostly she had very bad days. Friends and family came by to see my mother and say ‘goodbye’. She spent time with each person who came by. She had so many wonderful friends. I remember hospital personnel would come into my mother’s room and recommend that people call before they come visit because there were too many people waiting in the visitor’s area to see my mom. In her lifetime, my mother made an impact in so many different peoples’ lives, and it was obvious while she was in the hospital. Hundreds of flower arrangements were delivered to her from people all over the United States. Beautiful notes and prayers. I was happy my mother was able to enjoy this.
My mother and I bonded in a different kind of way while she was in the hospital. We watched movies. We laughed. She would send me all over town getting her different kinds of food and she would take just one bite of the food and feel fool. But we would laugh about this because we just wanted her to eat something. She would also tell people to bring her food and she would tell me when they asked if she enjoyed the food, just say ‘yes’. We talked about the many happy times we shared together.
I have to say again, my mother was such an amazing person and soul.