I believe we are defined by events that happen throughout our lives both passivity and negatively. Most of the events that change people’s paths often happen suddenly in their life and sometimes have long term effects. Whether it is a personal, religious, life style, or even a career change the fact still remains the cause for change was caused by the event. The statements above are true for my life; my life was about to change forever. This is the day I found out my mother had only six months to live, I was only 19 years old.
I was picking my mother up from a routine follow-up appointment she had at Keesler Air force Base Hospital in Biloxi Mississippi, on the afternoon of 3 March 1997. I was walking up the steps of the hospital when I saw her walking out her face was pale I asked her if she was ok, her response was no. At this point in time everything went silent she asked me to sit down on the steps but I couldn’t I just wanted to know what was wrong. My mother while holding my hands then told me the results of the test and that she had liver cancer and it was untreatable.
I was frozen not knowing what to say I just grab her and held her close and begun to cry. She told me to stop crying because she was going to need me to be strong for her and my brothers, that she wanted her last six months to be happy memories not sad ones. Let’s step back for a moment so I can explain the relationship I had with my mother because it was not your normal one. My mother was so much more to me than just a mom, she was my best friend I told her everything and she told me everything. We spent many late nights talking about everything in life from how our day went to what life would hold for us in the future.
My mother was one of those people who never wanted or asked for anything for herself but was one who gave everything and would do anything for her children. When I say her children I don’t just mean her biological ones, she took care and provide for so many more, whether it was local neighbor hood, friends, family, co-workers and sometime even complete strangers who just need help. I remember many nights sitting at the kitchen table with people eating dinner with us who I did not know and many of them I would never see again after that night.
My mom would always say we don’t have much but what we do have is sometimes way more than what others have. My mother was the strongest person I ever known, who also had the biggest heart. Two years before we found out she only had six months to live my mother kicked breast cancers ass. At least so we thought until the cancer showed back up in her liver and the doctors only gave her six months to live. At first nothing changed for her life or mine after finding out the bad news in fact she made me promise not to tell my brothers or anyone else.
She continued working up to about the last two months. That is when things started to fall apart. The first thing to go for my mother was her memory. I can remember coming home from work and my mother talking to me about going camping like I was five years old. Not knowing how to handle it I just played along with the conversation, it seemed to make her happy. This went on and off for about two weeks and then things really started heading down hill pretty quick. I had to get help from hospice care, to have help taking care of her, because she was basically bedridden and unable to care for herself.
Hospice came into our home and set up a medical bed and other medical equipment in our formal living area, this was the open area in our house. At this point I quit my job to take care of her because hospice care was only coming to the house like twice a day the rest was up to me. I had made a promise to her not to let her die in a hospital and I was trying to keep that promise. As the days went on the care became more and more demanding not really physical but mentally. I was doing everything thing for her, from bathing, changing her clothes, and bed pan to forcing her to take the meds she still need to take for pain control.
At this point she was no longer able to speak, it seemed like her mind was completely gone just a blank stare. My breaking point was met, I was unable to care for my mother at home anymore she had pretty much slipped into a coma. I had to have my mother moved to the hospital, I couldn’t keep that promise I made her and still to this day I beg for forgiveness from her. She was only in the hospital for three nights before she passed. My brothers and I took turns at night staying with her and my night was night three. That night was a special night, it was her birthday.
On the night she passed away we got her a birthday cake and song happy birthday to our mother for the last time. After singing happy birthday and blowing out the candles we each gave her a hug. When it became my turn to give her a hug I told her it was ok for her to go, that we will be ok and I love you. It wasn’t long after that she passed away at the age of 40. Not long after my mother died my life begun to fall apart. I could not deal with people always asking me if I was ok or if I needed anything. I started pushing everyone away and shutting out the ones I love.
I needed to make a positive change in my life because my mother would not want me to live this way. So I joined to U. S. Army and left home and everybody I loved. I didn’t really have a plan I just knew I needed my space and this was the only way I was going to get it. In fact I wrote a letter to my girlfriend breaking up with her on my flight to Germany, after I had completed all my initial training. I was completely alone for the first time after my mother died. Not a day goes by that I do not think about my mother and how her passing changed my life.
Today I live my life the way I believe she would have wanted me to, with an open mind, trying to see the positives in every situation I find myself in. There are things I wish I would have handled differently when it comes to my love ones I left behind when I joined the Army. My mother’s passing away changed my life in so many ways and has dad a major impact on the way I raise my kids, I do not take the time I have with them for granted. You never know when your time is up, so I say make the most of it and never wait until tomorrow to tell someone you love them.
Courtney from Study Moose
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