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Category: Grief

Mom’s Decline: Definitely Not How We Wanted It to Go

“Well, this isn’t how I thought it was going to go.” Cian said this to me the week before last. He was lying in bed beside me, and the clock said it was about four a.m. He’d been up since the middle of the night with what I thought was the stomach flu. See, Quinlan had started a barfing marathon a few nights before, then it fell on David, Saoirse, and me simultaneously like an avalanche of awful a couple of nights later (because like all things evil in the storybooks, the stomach flu descends during the night). So when a poop bomb went off in Cian’s room at one a.m., and continued to go off for the next three days (it turns out it was the actual flu this time. Silly us!), well. We were used to digestive grossness by then. Cian, though? Well, our poor buddy was in shock. And so it became the theme of our January: this isn’t how we thought it was going to go. My mom had her brain MRI last week, with a much different follow-up than usual with her…

From My Bubble to Yours: the Anniversary of Mom’s Glioblastoma Diagnosis

It’s been a year since it all happened, my friends. Last year, a day after the sadness of 9/11, when we took a breath and gave our loved ones an extra-long hug and carried on, on until the next year, is when our story with my mom began. That phone call. That drive. I finally told David, during a quiet moment last week, that I have flashbacks to that night, that car drive, my calls for help. I’m embarrassed by that admittance–I’m a grown woman, after all, and this happened during my grown-woman years. I asked him if he thinks they’ll ever go away. I want them to go away. I want the moment that divided before and after to be erased. This is what weighs on me: if it had been a stroke instead of a tumor, my decisions could have killed her that night. Do you realize that? Because I chose to try to find her before getting help. Because I chose not to call an ambulance right away to meet me there. Because I made a decision to drive her to the hospital myself even…

Mom’s Brain Cancer Journey: Knowing the Way

A few weeks ago I dreamt my mom and I were sitting down to dinner in a lovely, cavernous restaurant. Our table was a two-top beside a far wall. The room was decorated in a mustard-beige hue, and there seemed to be an auditorium stage on the opposite side from us. The wall I faced, across the expanse of the restaurant, was not a wall at all, but made up of huge, large-paned glass windows that gave us a view of the dark world outside. I can’t tell you what was behind me, the space that my mom faced: in my memory, it was just gray, blank–a vacuum. I do remember rising from my seat to wave at a family I knew from school as they entered the room and sat down. They didn’t see me, though. The diners, including my mom and me, were very quiet, subdued. We were in a room full of people but it felt like we were wearing noise-cancelling headphones. Mom that night looked like the Suzie most of you know: blonde bob, bright blue eyes, wearing blue jeans with blue shoes and a top bursting…