Shortly after my return from New York, I had a holiday shopping evening planned in downtown Seattle. It was with old friends of mine from High School and a welcome change of pace from feeling down about losing dad. I needed to kick my holiday spirit into gear and figure out how to enjoy this Christmas. The year before, we’d spent it at mom and dad’s and we were in a caretaking mode for the majority of it, and dad ended up in the hospital right before we left. It was not an ideal holiday but it was so important to have spent time with him, so we had no regrets. This year, however, was going to be different.
I got a call on my way home from my husband saying that mom had been trying to reach me. I thought that was unusual, so I called her right back. She told me that she’d gone to the doctor as we’d asked and they’d found the source of the pain in her hip. She had multiple tumors on her spine, in her bones, and on her organs. She was, in short, now a terminal cancer patient. Once again, I was spun around. How do you even take this information in? What do you say to your mother when her world has just crashed around her.
I must have said the right words but I have no memory of what. I know that I kicked in to action to get help to her right away. But another blow had been struck and instead of looking forward to Christmas, I was dreading it again. I had been actively wishing 2010 a not so fond farewell, hoping the new year would bring a brighter future. I was pretty sure this was not going to help make that wish come true.