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Browsing Tag: dying

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…

On Brittany Maynard

Late last Monday night, my mom and I were driving home from my cousin’s Catholic confirmation, which had been at a church about an hour away from where we live. I’d been her sponsor. David was home with the children, having tucked them into bed hours earlier. Mom and I were about five or so minutes away from my house when the headlights of a truck appeared in my lane. We’d been talking, and my eyes play tricks on me at night, so at first I wasn’t sure. But we were on a road that’s getting a lot of construction, so there are big boundary barrels and lane changes along the part we were traveling. It’s a confusing road to drive, even in the daylight, so I usually avoid it, but I figured that at 10:30 at night, traffic wouldn’t be quite as bad. I stopped talking, squinted at the lights ahead of me, and my heart dropped. I felt myself get very, eerily calm. Yup, was my first thought. The truck had missed the turn of the lane and was now traveling straight into…