May 8, 2014

mother's day

I've been really emotional leading up to this Mother's Day weekend. You see, very recently, I sat in a doctor's office with my mom, and heard him tell her, " a few months to live." I can honestly tell you, I've never experienced a more painful moment in my life, watching her heart completely break right in front of me, then feeling my own shatter into a million pieces. The diagnosis is Mesothelioma, a very rare form of cancer due to asbestos exposure. It is extremely rare, listed on the national rare illness directory. It is rare for people who worked directly with asbestos in their lives to come down with Mesothelioma. So, you can only imagine our despair and confusion to hear my mom's diagnosis, when she has never worked with asbestos at all. It could have been from some random bit of asbestos dust that she unknowingly was exposed to that nestled on the exterior of her lungs and over time developed into cancer. We'll never know. And at this point, the why's don't matter.
I've learned to live in the moment, one breath at a time. They say we should always live in the moment, and I really understand that now. We have to live for the now because all we are guaranteed is this moment. I talk to her or visit her everyday and we say 'I love you' at every goodbye.
I'm truly hoping that the support system surrounding my mom will keep her here with us as long as possible. I have written many times about her team of angels because they are inspirational. For example, yesterday, five of her dearest friends showed up, cleaned her house from top to bottom, enjoyed a feast of a lunch and cups of tea together, and then left her with a full dinner. Her hairdresser popped by after dinner, cut my mom's hair at home, and gave her a bounty of new hair supplies at no cost. Can you believe these women? They are all helping in my crusade to surround her with love and positive energy, in the hopes that it, in turn, slows this cancer down. I keep telling her that we want her to be one of these people you always read about, who defies the odds.

Our paths crossed because she had lost a baby, and subsequently, almost her own life when her appendix ruptured during pregnancy. And my own birth mom, for reasons unknown, couldn't keep me.
And so, through adoption, the universe brought my family together. My mom's friends tell me that the day my mom brought me home, she just held me and stared into my eyes all day. Maybe that's how we formed this amazing bond.
I know for a fact that I have a wonderful mom because every important life moment I've had up until now, she's been there. Every school project, dance/piano recital, injury that needed healing (physical or emotional), every move, she's been my fixture of support. Every big life decision, simple cooking question, or child-related issue, she's been a quick phone call away. As a child I knew I had a great mom because my friends enjoyed coming to our house. My mom would always make my friends feel right at home and make sure they left well fed.
She really is the most amazing cook and kept our family meals nutritious whether we had money or not.
It wasn't until I was older that I learned of our tough times as a family financially, but as a child I had no idea because mom gave us such a sense of security by making us feel so safe and loved.
She was my biggest cheerleader, always telling me I was bright and beautiful, even when I couldn't see it myself. She always said, "you can be anything you want to in this world." Always great advice for our children.
I remember when I gave birth to my daughter, and went through a tough birth experience, my mom was right by my side because, she said, I'm still her baby.
When I became a mother, I had the most new found respect for my mom. As a child you completely take for granted all that your parents do for you. You just assume that because they are adults, that they know how to take care of everything. But when I had my daughter, and the balance of life was thrown for a loop, I was in complete awe of all that my mother accomplished. She raised two children, did all of the house work, made all of the meals, and often worked nights to make ends meet.
As a girl, I just took all of this in stride. But now, as a woman, I truly don't know how she did everything. And to top it off, she never complained. She did it all with such strength and grace. Everyone has always said she's the hardest working person they know and that she puts everyone first. Well, now everyone is putting her first. I sure wish the circumstances were different for my mom right now, but I wouldn't trade places with anyone for the relationship I've shared with her.

Please take a moment this weekend to celebrate the moms in your life. They are truly remarkable with their unique tales of sacrifice and love.



Anonymous said...

My heart breaks for you and your Mom. My husband has mesothelioma also. Life can be cruel. Stay strong.

kelly said...

Thank you for your comment. My deepest sympathy on your husband's diagnosis. If you'd ever like to swap information, since it is such a rare illness, please email me at Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks. It's a bit too raw to talk about right now but I appreciate the offer. I am as bewildered as anyone about this diagnosis...and the oncologist isn't much help. Watching your loved ones waste away before your eyes is awful...I wish I had as big a support group as you the same time, i wish you didn't need yours at all...or ever. I hope...well, I don't even know any more. For my husband, I hope his passing is peaceful and not frightening...and I hope I survive it. Take care, Annette