*My mother had stage 4 metastatic breast cancer
*I made the decision to take Moira (then 6) and travel from Charleston, SC to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (via Baltimore to pick up my friend Heidi) at a time when Peyton (then 4) was in the middle of major respiratory illnesses causing frequent hospitalizations for a period of over a year
*I made my first long-haul road trip with me doing all the driving - said road trip was 20+ hours taken over a few days, involving the side trip to Baltimore, a place I'd never been, which took me through the heart of Washington, DC...with only Moira as a passenger...and I lived to tell about it!!
*I continued the road trip with Heidi - though lifelong friends, we'd never really spent this much time together ever; we had amazing talks and I feel like we really renewed our friendship (hopefully she feels that way too!)
*I made this trip home out of necessity - because it was unknown how much longer my mother would be with us
*Though a very difficult visit, I spent about a week with my mother and father at a time when my mother was failing, was very restless, and very non-communicative, though very much aware
*I felt guilty about being unable to be constantly in whatever room she was in because it was so incredibly difficult to see her failing health, realizing that this was likely "it"
*I felt overwhelmed by the situation, knowing the inevitable was probably nearer than we cared to admit
One year ago tomorrow...
(because I'm shedding enough tears today without having to write this ACTUALLY tomorrow)
*I sat down at my mother's bedside
*I held her hand
*I told her that we were all going to be ok
*I told her that she was my hero, and she told me that I was hers
*I told her it was alright for her to go...to be at peace
*I told her she needed to take care of my precious angel in heaven, Jeffrey, stillborn in August 2001, and she told me she would
*I told my mother I loved her and she told me how much she loved me
*I began a painful journey back home to my family, knowing that that was the last face to face conversation I would have with my mother before she passed away a couple weeks later
Hold your loved ones close. Tell them you love them. Don't let a day go by that you don't tell them. You never know if that will be your last opportunity. I am eternally grateful for the moments I shared with my mother one year ago. I am blessed beyond measure that I was able to make that trip and to tell her the things I wanted to tell her. I still have some lingering "what if I said..." thoughts, but in reality, I think I truly told her everything I needed to. Thankful. Grateful. Blessed.