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Browsing Tag: dying

Twenty-Two Months

My mom has died. I’ll probably fill you in a bit more further down the road (almost as fun as a birth story, I’m sure), but for now just know this: she passed away Tuesday afternoon, almost a week after she started to really shift and we came together to keep vigil. She died at home, in her living room, with us by her side and a favorite young caregiver who knew exactly how to guide us through it. It was no easier after almost two years of knowing it would happen this way. My mother is gone. Yesterday, David and I stopped by Wegmans to get some groceries after a long day spent funeral arranging with Paul and Sarah. I need to stay away from stores for a while, I think, because here’s what happened every single time I passed an older person: “Oh, you’re alive!” I’d think. “Good for you.” Or, “Ah! Still alive for your kids? Must be nice!” I doubt that’s healthy. I took the girls shopping today for dresses to wear next week. It was a sweet…

Update from the Brain Cancer Chronicles: Mom’s Almost There, but Not Quite There, and I’m Not Ready for There Anyway

Let me tell you what’s weird in Brain Cancer World. Two weeks ago, when mom’s hospice nurse came to visit, she declared my mom’s condition “status quo, with deterioration.” I think that means, “Still living, but a little less than she was before.” Last Thursday, a day after we visited with Mary and Tim and one of their brothers and sister-in-law, I got a phone call. Everything the day before had been status quo: Mom slept most of the visit, but when she was awake, she was listening and responding. That day, the day after the visit with the family, something changed, and I raced down to her house. The nurse had stopped by earlier, and noticed that Mom’s color had changed. Her lung capacity was diminished, which we knew, but she had what the nurse called “the Look.” It was this Look she didn’t know how to describe but knew well from her work with dying patients. It’s not a good Look, basically. It’s not a Look we’re going for these days. So, based on…

No, Seriously, I Swear We’re Fun to Hang Out With

Note: This post might be troubling for some readers who’ve dealt with violence to or the loss of a loved one.  It was Friday, and I’d just picked up the girls from school. They’d asked what our plans were for the weekend. I’d just told them that, after Saoirse’s soccer game, we were going to visit their granddad’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery. Quinlan asked me what a cemetery was (a question she asks me at least four times a year, and four times a year I struggle to answer it in a way that doesn’t yield fifty more questions. Four times a year, I fail miserably). I told her that’s where we bury the bodies of people after they died, and just when I felt like I had the answer good and set, she changed the conversation up on me. “Mom?” Quinlan was in the back seat of the minivan beside her sister, buckled in, sitting on her gray-and-pink booster. We were stopped at a light in the middle of town and I’d been idly wondering if…