We arrived after a looooong day of driving across Colorado and in to Kansas around 9pm. The ride was full of the usual hunting for celiac-friendly spots to eat, of which Kansas basically has zero. Normally, we pack a few snacks for my hubby, but this time we were in a hurry and wistfully thought we’d find something for him. I think one time Yelp reported there was fresh deli meat at one of the stores in a little town off the highway. We took the exit, bravely meandered though the tired town, and found the grocery store. In went my husband into the tiny market, and out he came with Oscar Meyer deli meat (that we learned was expired) and a bag of cheese.

So, several stops later, we pulled into my aunt and uncle’s house in Kingman, KS, tired, husband hungry, and hoping for some positive news about my mom. What we were greeted with was a hug, and then a pow-wow in my Aunt’s guest bedroom. My brother gave me and my husband the news about mom.

“She’s not good. It’s not good,” my brother said with one heck of a somber tone to his voice. I hadn’t heard that voice from him since Grandma Fields passed away a few years ago.

“Ok,” I said, “So what are they going to do? What’s the plan?”

“I think you should call Dad,” my brother said. And with that, he left the room, closed the door, and I picked up the phone.

“Hi Dad, how’s it going?” I asked.

“Oh, it’s not going so good, Stephanie.” My dad’s voice was sad and hollow. Hope had left his body. The doctors had looked at the multiple scans they had performed the day before, mulled over the bloodwork, and thumbed through a multitude possibilities.

And at the end of the day, there was nothing they could do. We were essentially out of options. 

“She is very jaundiced from her liver not working correctly,” Dad reported. “They are trying to get her liver working, but there are tumors blocking the entrance and exit. Nothing can be filtered through.”

I asked if there was a surgery option, or something to help clear the tumors.

“They are looking at the possibility of performing surgery to remove the tumors. But they have to get her stable first. And the surgery might not be very successful. Right now, she’s not doing very well.”

Lump. Big lump. This was it. She wouldn’t be coming to my shower, and she more than likely wouldn’t be coming to Kansas any time soon.

“Ok.” I wanted to stay strong. I didn’t want my voice to crack. I had been strong all these years, thinking positively. “How about we Skype you guys in for the shower? That way mom can be here too.”

“That sounds like a great idea. Call us in the morning and we will set it all up.” 

“Ok, I will,” I said. “I wish you guys could be here.”

After a few more minutes of chatting, I pressed the end call button on my phone. Jesse and I sat in silence for a minute before he enveloped me in his big, muscular arms of his. He didn’t need to say anything, his embrace said it all.

“I love you and your family very much. We will get through this,” he whispered to me.