On Monday, I lost my mum. It still doesn’t feel real as I write this.
I loved her. Even though we didn’t always see eye to eye on everything. But, I loved her.
In May of 2019, she was rushed to the hospital with what she thought was a heart attack but turned out to be pancreatic cancer. She kept quiet about undergoing surgery and chemo to treat it. She didn’t want anyone’s sympathy or pity. She just wanted to fight the cancer and go back to living a normal life. She almost got what she wanted.
The cancer’s not what took her. She fought that. No, what took her was an infection that she wasn’t able to fight off because she was immunocompromised. That’s what took her. And that’s what makes this harder to cope with. If cancer had taken her, it’s easier because it’s cancer. The big bad C-word. But, an infection makes it feel like somehow it could have been prevented. Even if that wasn’t the case.
I was there when she passed. I was lucky enough to have left work and my home with husband in tow and to make it to the hospital before she went. She was conscious until the end, even if she wasn’t able to speak due to the breathing tube. But she knew all of us were there when she finally took her last breath. I don’t think I’ve ever cried that much.
She loved being on a boat and crabbing. She bowled with my father every week. And she made beautiful flower arrangements. My mother was kind, adventurous, and adopted every single friend I ever took home. The only people who didn’t like her were people that she called on their bullshit. But, the people who loved her outweigh those who didn’t by a wide margin.
She ran our house growing up. Not that my dad wasn’t an involved parent, he was, but both my sister and I knew that if you wanted the answer you wanted to hear, you asked dad. But if you wanted the real answer, you went to mum. She was in charge and it took me a long time to realize that not everyone grew up in a matriarchal household….but I was lucky enough to do so. She shaped my sister and me into the strong, independent women we are today.
She was the most supportive person anyone could ever want in their life. (It’s honestly probably where I get it from.) She was a dance mom, a softball mom, a band mom, and a theater mom all throughout my time in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. And in more recent years she’s been a figure skating mom and a hockey mom as I decided to take up new sports in my late 20s. She never let me give up on my dreams. She let me go to Prague when I was in college with no argument and when I lived in Egypt 10 years ago, she brought my grandmother with her to visit me. She pushed me to make myself better and to do what made me happy. She was my running partner.
She had so many adventures and things that she didn’t get to do. She didn’t get to see me play in a hockey game. She didn’t get to see my sister get married. And she didn’t get to go on the trips my dad and her had planned for when she was finished with treatment. She was 57. Had just turned 57 about three weeks ago. She should have lived another 40 years.