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Dying and Fighting to Live On

Photo courtesy of PEXELS
"Your Mother might have cancer or tuberculosis of the stomach"

The doctor was unemotional when he said that the operation to be done on Mommy would be the way to know if she has cancer or tuberculosis of the stomach.

How come Mommy would have tuberculosis?  Does she have lung problems? Margie and I both questioned the doctor.

 "The different organs of the body can be subjected to tuberculosis not only the lungs" the doctor, tried to explain.

How long will Mommy rest after the operation?

How long before she can go back to work?

Mommy would want to continue to work, to keep herself busy because our Daddy has just died.

Your Mother might have to rest for a long time if she has tuberculosis of the stomach. If it is cancer, I will discuss it with you further. In the meantime, let's do the surgical operation first.

Margie and I never asked about the possibility if Mommy has cancer. We have so many questions to Mom's doctor, but we dodged the topic of cancer.

The night before Mommy's operation, Margie stayed with her while I went home because my youngest son DJ had just turned a year old. Before I slept, I lit a candle by my window and started to pray. I could barely say anything, and my thoughts were racing. I couldn't focus on a proper prayer. I asked the Holy Spirit to pray for me because I cannot form my prayers even in my mind.

Day of the operation


I spent a sleepless night and woke up very early.

I took two steps at a time, lengthening my strides, then I came tumbling down, I couldn't hold on, I rolled down the road. I was in a hurry!

While waiting for the lift that will bring me to Mommy's floor, I felt a heavy thud in my heart. I ignored it, but without success. The thumping in my heart continued as I rode the lift.

As I reached  Mommy's floor, I saw her wheeled outside the operating room, with Margie in tow.

She was deathly white.

While my sister hurried behind Mommy, I slowed my steps and was left behind.

I cried.

Tears streamed down on my face, and I cried unabashedly.

Dying

We closed up your mother, immediately, so the cancer cells will not spread fast, said the doctor.
                                                      
It is at stage two.

How did that happen, Doctor, Mommy was very well, she was taking care of our father, and at the same time working full time?

Margie couldn't say anything.

I was stupefied to further questioned the doctor.

All along we were in denial, and we cannot accept Mommy has cancer.

We were not prepared for this! Mommy cannot die!

Why Lord? Why?

Are my prayers not long and hard as you wanted them to be?

Were my sins not forgiven?

Am I am not worthy to ask for this big favor from you?

Why Lord, why?

I lamented and was inconsolable.

Mommy was brought home.

I stayed with her only on weekends because I have to work and take care of my young children.

My family lives an hour and a half away from Mommy's.

I was drained emotionally and physically.

There was fear in my heart. I was not prepared for Mommy to leave us. My Daddy and Mommy were the pillars of my strength. The source of my stability and the constants in my life. My parents were always there to take care of me. It hurts me so much when Daddy died. I tried to console myself that Mommy is still here. She will take care of us, and we will take care of her. I cannot fathom how life will be if Mommy is gone.



Fighting to live on

My Mommy was a very small woman. She stood barely five feet tall. She spent almost all her living years taking care of us, her children. My concept of a mother was one who stays at home to take care of her husband and children. My memories of my Mommy as a child were, of her crocheting her doilies in different sizes and designs.

She would wear a smart long house dress. Even at home, she would wear makeup. She's the typical "old moms" who wear curlers to bed at night so her hair will be dressed up even early in the morning. She sees us to school in the mornings, and would always be there when we arrived from school. She bought my first VMV lipstick in the shade of pink. When I had a job, she sees to it the dress I would wear for the day was prepared.


When I was 21 years old, my Mommy started a career. At the age of 52, my Mom was exposed to corporate life. It was life-changing for us, her family because we were used to Mommy being a stay at home mom. It was the start of a new life for Mommy. She was the best being a Mommy, and she became best also as a career woman. Mommy best exemplified how a woman can reinvent herself in midlife.

Way to go Mommy!

Mommy was bedridden when she got sick. I would offer to help her care for her personal needs, but she prefers that Margie does it for her. She became like a child because even her simplest need needs to be done for her. She feels a bit embarrassed about that, and I would tell her, "it's okay Mommy, Anak mo ako" (I'm your child).

When I come to visit her, I would lay down beside her in her bed, and I would fall into a slumber. I felt safe with Mommy. I felt a shield was protecting me from my worries in the outside world as I lay down beside her.

We would pray the rosary together. I would tell her, Mommy just holds your rosary, and touch the beads. I would do the recitation of the prayers.

One time, I told Mom. Mommy, whatever happens, don't be afraid.


She said I am not afraid.

You're not afraid, Mommy?

I'm not she answered in a calm voice.

I went to her. I curled beside her, embraced her, and said in a small voice, but I am Mommy.

I cried quietly beside her, and she comforted me. She told me, Carmel, pray to the Lord always.

One night, I had a dream. In one frame, I saw Mommy together with my Daddy lying side by side. Daddy said they were tired of all their medications. In the next frame, I saw Mommy is lying alone with the blanket up to her chin. In the last frame, I saw Mommy, back to her glamorous self, before she got sick, with her hair and face all made up and her skin glowing bright and shiny.

When I woke up from my dream, I felt so melancholic. I knew it was time.

Mommy passed away gently in her sleep.

Pray always to the Lord. Mommy's gentle reminder to me.

That's how I lived on after her death. My life is a life filled with prayers. I prayed about everything, and that's how I moved on with my life, it's how I survived whether I received apples or lemons in my life.

Each of us has our own dying and fighting to live on the story. Care to share yours and be an inspiration to others too?

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Middle life is Beautiful.

Till next time. God bless.

















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