I’m alive, but I’m not living.
These are words spoken by my mom from our visit with her at the hospital. Words I immediately took and stored in my brain because I knew these words meant she’s tired, weak and she’s just over it.
She’s here but she can’t really use her legs. Her daily thoughts are, “where am I going to sit for the day?”. She is here, but she can’t really enjoy the things that are in front of her.
I really can’t imagine what goes through her head everyday. It really breaks my heart seeing her struggle and not know what to do to help her. I see her hurting and in pain but don’t know what to say or what to do. You feel like you need to ask how she’s doing everyday but you know the answer. You know she feels terrible but when you ask, she says she’s doing great. I completely understand why she says that because if she came back with the true answer, “oh ya know, just sitting over here slowly dying from this cancer”. What would you say then? It would be awkward and make you feel really uncomfortable and bad for asking. All of these things go through my head every time I talk to her. I feel like it sometimes is meaningless words to even ask how she’s doing, because I know the answer. So instead, I pretend like she’s not even sick. I feel like if I treat her normal then she will feel normal. So, I call and tell her about how my kids doctors appointments went and how this happened today and blah blah blah. You know, just normal stuff that I’d call my mom and talk about because that just feels so much better than sitting around asking how she feels when I know 50 other people have asked her the same thing all day. Part of me hopes she knows why I don’t ask how she’s feeling everyday, but I also worry that if I don’t she will think I don’t care. I know she knows I do but you always wonder if you are doing enough. I don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. No one does. None of us have really ever been through something like this and we don’t know how to approach it. It’s so hard to know what to do.
The days are long and hard on her and I know she has to just sit looking at the clock, waiting…waiting for something to happen. Waiting to see if a miracle will happen or she will have to go through more and more complications along the way, hoping that one of these “things” will fix her.
If I was her, I would’ve been ready to throw in the towel long ago. I know her fighting spirit has gotten her to where she is today. She’s got more strength than anyone I know but everyone has hard days. The days where you just say, “God take me. If you’re not gonna heal me, then take me now so I don’t have to go through this anymore”. We don’t know His plan. We never will until it happens, but it’s so hard to know if you’re pushing against what God wants by trying to hold on or maybe he’s telling you, “Just stop. You’re tired and weak for a reason. I’m trying to tell you to just let go and let me do what I’m trying to do”.
We had “this talk” in the hospital the other day. The one you don’t want to have but feel like you have to once it gets to this point. The “I don’t know what to do” point. Do I continue with treatment or stop everything and see what God is planning to do? Honestly this is the hardest conversation I’ve ever had to have because I want my mom here forever, but I don’t want to see her living a miserable life. I don’t want to be selfish and say, “Keep doing it. Try everything and put yourself through more pain just to see if something works”. I would be so selfish if I said that. The other alternative though isn’t easy to say either, but I couldn’t bring myself to say it to her in person. All I said was “whatever you want to do, we are behind you.” Surprisingly, we randomly heard gospel singing as we’re talking about this and don’t think it was coming from the movie Jumanji that was playing. I guess you can take that whatever way you want to take it, but I’m going to call it a God thing and maybe it was to bring Peace to the situation.
Later on when I got home, I really fought with myself for not telling her what I really wanted to say because I knew if I said it she wouldn’t be able to hear it through all of my tears pouring down. I decided to text her and tell her about all the things she’s gotten to see us do. “You’ve gotten to see us graduate, get married, have children and be an amazing grandmother to them. You have gotten to see so many things that some people don’t get to see their children do. You are so lucky to have seen all of these things, and we are so grateful we have had you here to see it all. All of this started right after I got married too and look how much you still have been able to see all while kicking cancers butt this whole time up until this point. You’re tired and no one will blame you for stopping treatment now. You have made everyone so proud by the strength you have shown but most importantly by your faith in God this whole time. You never gave up on Him and it has been inspirational to so many seeing you be such a faithful servant to Him. I know you have made Him so proud too. So mom, whatever you decide, we back you up on your decision.”
Edited by: Morgan Marynissen