July 30, 2020
**sorry this is a day late, I really have no excuse accept that I knew this part of the story would be hard to write. Enough time has passed – for me and my son – that remembering her in good times is easy. I think the title is enough of a forewarning that this could be a hard read, but I think I do need to mention it. Writing this wasn’t easy, but not as hard as I thought t would be. Bitter sweet…
In 2003, my parents went to Hawaii to celebrate their anniversary. It was something mom had wanted to do for a long time, but never could. Either because of health concerns, or because they had a house, kids, a life to take care of. Mom got the all clear to travel from the doctor’s and off they went.
I was here, taking care of the house and property, working, and taking care of my son. At the time, he was 4 ½ years old. Everything was great!
Until my mom ended up in the hospital with pneumonia a few days before they were supposed to leave to come home. Dad wasn’t happy with the doctor’s there. He walked into her room one morning to find the nurse about to give her blood thinner. A big no-no if you have aplastic anemia. The nurse said the doctor had ordered it to prevent blood clots, the doctor was called to the room. After some finagling and her NIH doctors were called, dad was proven right. No blood thinner was administered. This doctor tried to tell dad that she new all about aplastic anemia.
After arriving back on the east coast and a couple days of rest at home, she was readmitted to NIH so tests could be done. The aplastic anemia had turned into leukemia, which they had said in the past was possible. She had already had a bone marrow transplant done, so that wasn’t an option. Eventually, after chemo therapy was administered and seemed to be working, she was able to come home.
The next few years seemed to fly by. Mom was no longer able to drive. She had cataracts, that weren’t able to operated on because of the aplastic anemia. When I lost my job in 2004, my parents asked me to stay home and help take care of the property and run her to the local doctors, outings and such. Dakota loved sitting with her and reading. When he was younger, he called her “no-no nana”, as she was always chasing after him, saying “no, no, no…”. She also loved calling family and friends, so I made a notebook for her with a name and number in huge numbers written in sharpie so she could see it on each page (one name and phone number on each page). This saved me and my dad a lot of time, but also helped with her independence. She didn’t need us by her side twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. She went to the YMCA to do water exercises until she no longer could, as well as church when she felt up to it. Dad had to give up Sunday School teacher and deacon.
In 2007, mom got sick again. The leukemia had come back, and the prognosis didn’t look good. If the chemo therapy didn’t work, there was nothing else they could do. After two or three rounds of chemo with no results, they were given the news that she had a week to ten days left. She was allowed to come home, with Hospice care.
Mom passed away November 22, 2007. When they were given the news, they both new without saying anything to each other that she would pass away the same day her father did thirteen years earlier. That day also happened to be Thanksgiving Day.
Everyone had gone to bed the night before, sleeping peacefully when I heard a bunch of banging and stumbling. It was two o’clock in the morning; dad was trying to find his way downstairs. He cried, his head in my lap, for what seemed like hours. I know it wasn’t that long, but it sure felt like it. Eventually, dad wiped his eyes and we woke my sister up. I let my son sleep for a little bit, before having my sister wake him up so he could say goodbye.
Immediate family members were called early in the morning, but we didn’t notify friends until the next day. We didn’t want to upset people with the news on Thanksgiving Day.
My son had a really hard time with her passing as they were really close. We always tried to let him express his feelings. It also took him some time to get back to school full time, which some didn’t understand. But I’m not getting into that here.
Please don’t be sad… remembering both my mom and dad is sometimes hard, sometimes bitter sweet. The good times we had are the memories we cherish when no longer walking with us on this earth. I will see them both again some day…
to read more of my dad’s story, click here (my dad’s story page)
"We make bitter better."
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