Today’s post is the last in this series. I’ve not written much about Mom and her 6 month battle with lung cancer. This is the little bit of Mom I’ll share today. In that short time my sisters, Dad and I experienced many of the same things I did going through treatments with my daughter. There were side effects, frustrations and uncertainties, and between the two of us, Empathy. One poignant difference was her gentle lesson in how to die.
Even though my sisters and I were adults, we were still her Girls and she was Mom. We watched. A woman of strong faith, her rosary and Bible were her meds of choice. Known for her ready smile, that’s what she continued to offer instead of complaints. Always a private person, she accepted with grace the offerings of food and rides for treatment from people outside of the family. She reminded us that even in dying, how we live our lives isn’t about us.
Besides my poet friends, other people helped me realize my poems were not about me. I spent a day at our old clinic absorbing its sights, sounds and smells. It had been almost 20 years since I’d been there and they’d done a complete make-over. I’m talking a flip!I actually walked out and checked to make sure I was in the right place. Yet even after 20 years of advances in treatment and physical changes in the clinic, the essence of that place remained the same. Children were hooked up to IVs for chemo, and as I sat in the welcome area I overheard one mom say to another,
“My daughter has ALL. It’s supposed to be the one with the best chances for survival. But I’m still afraid, you know?”
The final window to open and make my friends and I realize these poems were not about me, and not even fully about cancer, was the one about care-giving.
In my circle of friends there are several Super Women~
* moms with children who have particular challenges. One whose daughter has addictions, two whose sons have OCD, and another whose daughter has Down’s. All the children are adults so the care-giving has changed, but hasn’t completely disappeared.
* four who are taking care of their parents. Two of them have moms who have moved in with them because of dementia, which requires 24/7 care-giving. One whose mom has dementia but lives over an hour away, which presents its own challenges.
* one whose husband has ALS.
We understood that no matter the relationship, the circumstances or the degree of care-giving, certain things are universal.
* We often don’t choose this role of care-giving; we accept it out of love or obligation.
* It’s sometimes like living in parallel universes – the one defined by the needs of the situation and the ‘normal’ one of jobs, bills, housework and a social life.
* Sometimes life gets overwhelming and you’d like to stop it just long enough to catch your breath and catch up. But you can’t.
* The importance of Trust to allow others to help and to offer respite.
* There are always Moments of Grace when we find humor, relief, normalcy and a touch of the sacred.
My collection is my family’s story, but it’s not just about us. It’s a lens peeking In the Garden of Life and Death~A Mother and Daughter Walk. The words in bold in these last two posts are titles of poems in the collection. To read samples of other poems in my book, visit Mainstreet Rag Publishing. You may also order my collection at a discounted, pre-release price of $8.50.