New York was such an amazing trip, and I’m so glad I had that weekend with mom. Seeing her ride that merry-go-round at Battery Park is still so crisp and sharp in my mind. The colorful fish seats, lit up as they spun around in circles, while mom beamed in her equally as bright t-shirt and rhinestone denim jacket is a favorite memory.
Seeing her dance with my dad, beaming again, as he guided her around the wooden dance floor of a classic, old New York building. Watching her smile as she saw her nephew wed his bride, and celebrate with her family. When we left the reception, we all said our goodbyes, but it wasn’t goodbye for long. After all, we’d be making the trek to Kansas for my bridal shower with everyone in just two short weeks. It’s one of those things that if you knew it was your last time to see someone, you would have spent more time saying your goodbyes, and holding that hug just a little longer. But, in true human fashion, we just said, “Oh, I’ll see you in two weeks. It’s not goodbye tonight,” and hurried back to the hotel to hit the sack.
The next two weeks were filled with wedding things and road trip planning, which made them fly by at warp speed. I literally can’t recall anything that stands out, other than the phone call the week of my bridal shower. That was the phone call that started this whole adventure – and where this blog starts – when mom let me know she had gone to her appointment with her oncologist in Amarillo, and it didn’t go as we were all used to. He was sending my parents to MD Anderson in Houston to check things out further. Her doctor was sending them to the best, because he could no longer fix the Big C.
That was the phone call that sent my head spinning. Remember how tired mom was while dress shopping? Remember that four hour nap she took at our old apartment? What about that look in her eyes that you picked up on at the wedding – the one where you felt something was off?
In my heart I hoped that MDA would be able to fix the Big C with their super powerful team of super knowledgeable doctors, and super cutting-edge equipment.
In my head I knew that we were reaching the end of the road. The tone of her voice on that phone call was one I had NEVER heard from her. “I don’t think there is much else they can do…” her voice had trailed off, hopeless and monotone as she spoke. I remember my throat just sinking in my stomach, as far as it could go. I remember Jesse looking at me while I was still on the phone with mom. I could tell he knew from my ghosted face that something was wrong. He was right.
I went to the only place I had been able to exist during this whole endeavor with the Big C. I went to the land of hopeful thinking. I kept telling myself – and her – that if they are sending her to MD Anderson, it must be because your oncologist thinks they can help! They have a magic pill! They have a treatment, a trial, something to keep fighting this horrible thing. He wouldn’t send you to the super-duper high-tech hospital if he didn’t think they could help.
She wasn’t hopeful. For possibly the first time ever, my mom had no hope.
I can’t remember if it was while mom was at home in hospice care, or if it was after she passed, but I remember one of my aunts saying to me, “I wish you and your cousin’s wedding dates were switched, so your mom could have seen you get married.”
Funny, I never really thought about it like that. I saw my cousin’s wedding as a celebration nonetheless, regardless of who was marrying whom, and the fact that we were all together as family was so great. And, let’s be honest. Mom had the best seat in the house at my wedding. I’m pretty sure she saved Big J a seat right next to her as well.