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Wednesday, May 4

how do you measure a day?

It was long. It started early with a 6am call from my brother. He had been called to the rehab facility where Mom had been trying to get strong enough to learn to walk on her new hip. They said we should get there right away. He said he would check out the situation and call me. We had been called this way before and Mom would recover by the time we got there. But this time, he said that we were at the end and we dressed quickly to meet him and his wife there.

We sat beside her bed, a row of her children in hospital chairs, watching her breathe, willing her to be comfortable, wondering what to expect. She slept on, her brow furrowed a bit as if she was concentrating.

And then I had to go. My own fate awaited across town. This date, May 4th, had hovered in front of me for a month. I could not see past it or around it to any of the days that would follow. It was the day that my oncologist would tell me the results of my scan. He would tell me if I still had cancer or not and what that would mean to me. And so we left Mom's bedside and kept the appointment, my stomach in knots for all sorts of reasons now.

First came a woman who wanted to know if they could use my blood for research. Of course. Signed papers. Would they ask that of a terminal patient, I wondered? Was this a good sign? And then, finally, my NP, Karen, came in and asked how I was and I said nervous and she said I needn't be. The scan was good. We chatted about what was found and she checked me over and we laughed over silly things and she said how happy she was that things were good. And then my Doctor came in and told me that he considered me to be in remission.

And I could breathe again.

But under all the relief and joy was the grief of knowing what waited a few miles away and so back to Mom we went. When we got to the room my brother said he thought she was hearing us and so I bent close to her ear and told her "Mom, I just went to the Doctor. I don't have cancer any more. I think I'm going to be fine". And she tried to speak and she moved her head back and forth and she heard me. I know she did.

And a few hours later she was gone.

How do you measure a day? In teardrops and laughter. In pain and joy. In loss and gain. In hope and acceptance.

In a few days we will resume our normal lives, missing Mom always, but getting on with life.

And May 4th will always be a day I'll remember. The day Mom's life ended and I got mine back.

How will I ever measure this day?

2 comments:

Louise's Son-in-law said...

I don't know what to say except we love you both!

Jolene said...

Love you Pat. You're in my prayers.