Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rapidly changing

"Will you give Lily a kiss for me?" my dear aunt asked my mother.
"Of course." she replied, "I'll kiss her everyday for the rest of my life for you."

Things are chaning very quickly with my aunt. If you recall, she was diagnosed in March of 2007 with stage 4 colon cancer. It has since spread to most of her organs including her liver. My mother is trying to prepare us. I hoped (wishful thinking maybe) that she would be here to meet Lily. But that does not look like the case.

My mother and SIL threw us a baby shower on Sunday. It was beautiful, and very peaceful. Although I had mixed feelings about it, but that's for another post. Anyway, my grandmother pulled up and my aunt got out of the car. I held back the tears, as I held her and she cried in my arms. She was so frail, but so happy to be there. We helped her to her seat, gave her some lemonade, and she asked if I could open her presents first. She was upset because she intended to make something for Lily, but could not finish it. So instead her daughters went out and bought her some pretty dresses and lots of books. It was perfect. She left about 30 minutes later, and we found out yesterday that she was so exahusted after she left that she fainted when she walked through the door. She's ok, thankfully, but it was to much for her.

My mom urged me yesterday to see her. She said that if there is anything that I need to do or to say to tell her. I'm sad that she won't be here to see Lily, but I'm incredibly happy that she'll be starting a new journey and will be able to hug and kiss Dylan and Riley and send Lily on her way when it's time. So what do you say to someone who is dying? I want to ask her to hold the boys and tell them that we love them deeply. But they know that. You might wonder how I know that they'll be together. If you remember that weird dream I had about my grandmother a few months ago, I have no doubts anymore. I know there is *somewhere* that we go, but we never return. I want to tell her what my grandmother said in the dream. That dying isn't painful and that she will go to sleep in wake up in a miraculous place. I want to tell her these things, but how? What do I say? How do I say it? She's been asking my mom about if she thought dying was painful, and I want her to know that it's not. It can't be. If it was then I'd have to admit that it was painful for the boys, and I'm willing to bet it was much more painful for me than it was for them.

There is also a large part of me that wants to protect my grandparents from the reality that their daughter is going to die. I don't want any person to feel the pain that I feel, and although I don't particularly like them sometimes...I do love them and I don't want them in that much pain. I've experienced a miniscule amount of what they are going to go through and it nearly killed me. I'm not 80, and my boys were not in their 50's with children. I want to protect them from that pain. On an upside, my grandmother spoke with a nurse yesterday at the oncologist's office who told her flat out that there is nothing more that my grandmother can do for her. She was feeling helpless (we know that feeling) and she was feeling like she should be able to protect her daughter and take care of her by holding onto her, feeding her, and trying to mother her back to normal. Feelings that we are all to familiar with. It's just that with cancer, unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done at this point. It's to far. So hearing from the nurse that it was ok for her to let go was incredibly healing for her. Speaking with my mom, I explained how not knowing that can kill a person. If someone had told me, looked me in the eyes, and really told me that there was nothing I could have done to save Riley and Dylan I know without a doubt that it would have made things easier. I would have been able to let go, put and end to the sentence, and move on from there. While it was hard to hear, it opened her up to cry and come to peace with some things.

Today they are meeting a home health nurse to care for her. It's a relief from everyone because my grandparents don't have to make the 40-min drive each day on a perfect schedule, and my mother gets a break. My uncle can work a little from home, and her children aren't tied down. It also gives her someone to talk to when we can't answer the hard questions.

Please, if you have some to spare, keep us in your thoughts or prayers. My computer is down at home so I'm here at my mom's waiting for her to come and get me to go over. I'll try to post as often as I can, but unfortunately the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. The next few weeks are going to bring unfortunate changes in our family, but thankfully we have a lot to look forward to come September...our saving grace.


~S said...

You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Thinking of you and sending you peace and comfort...hope you can feel it.

Monica H said...

Mr. H had an aunt (Marie- who I blogged about) who was diagnosed with colon cancer in August 06. She lived until January 08! The cancer had spread to her liver and lungs (before she was diagnosed) so it couldn't be removed. She was on chemo for over a year- that's unheard of. As I've been told, most people don't do chemo any longer than 4-6 months. She made it to her 40th wedding anniversary (Nov 07) and the holidays, so she could be with her family. She then died peacefully in her sleep the following month. She was really sick and frail. She lost a ton of weight and was very weak. She stayed in bed almost all day and didn't even have the energy to eat. But she lived as long as she needed to.

I'm saying this because she may live longer than you expect. If she has something to live for (and she does) she just may see Lily being born. Keep hoping, praying and believing that she'll see your little girl. I pray that she will.

And I pray for peace in your family in the next few weeks.

Azaera said...

We went through the same thing with my grama, she had unexplained aches and pains and problems and her doctor (a total quack) told her it was a cold, etc. Anyway months later she is so sick that my grampa decides to take her to the ER where they diagnose her with late stage cancer that has metastisized throughout her entire body, and at that stage there was nothing they could do. They gave her chemo even though they said it wouldn't help, and it didn't. All that happened was she was sicker than before and lost all her hair before she died.
She held on long enough to see my eleventh birthday though, and my parents too prepared me for the end. They told me she was in a lot of pain and needed to move on, and the very last time I went to see my grama I remember my dad saying 'you go and give your grama a big hug and a kiss' and I knew that would be the last time I ever saw her and it was.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is I have some idea of how painful it is. The only advice I have is to say what you want to say to her now while you have the chance, get all those hugs and kisses in, and be at peace with the knowledge that she will soon be at peace.

Sending you all my positive thoughts.

Cajun Cutie said...

My heart is with you and your family during this difficult time. Hugs my friend.

Melissa said...

My dad died of cancer 8 years ago and I was too shy and chicken to say everything I wanted to. I regret it everyday. You must tell her everything you want to - she will appreciate it more than you know and will bring you peace.