Friday, September 30, 2011

Stoic and strong but now she's gone...

My Mom passed away on Monday September 26th. She took her last breath while I was holding her in my arms. I watched her suffer for those last few days, and it will take me a long time for that visual to dull to the point where it doesn't rip me apart.

Today was her funeral.

I miss her already...

*the above photo is of my Mom when she was about 17. I've always loved this picture of her. Glad the boyfriend called me, because she told him not to. My poor little Mom, she was trying to protect me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Man plans and God laughs...

My Mother spoke those words from her bed in the ICU... So much for paradise. The day after my last blog entry my mother suffered several seizures and was rushed to the hospital. I flew down to Florida the next day to be by her side. She was there visiting her brand new "recycled" boyfriend. I call him recycled because he was her very first boyfriend ever. They were together when she was 14 and neither of them ever got over one another. We later found out he had been searching for her for years, but he was looking under her maiden name. Anyway, I digress...

Two days after I arrived, while she was in the ICU she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. She suffered the seizures because the cancer had metastasized EVERYWHERE... to her brain, her nodes, her spine (which she lied to me and told me it didn't) you get the picture. Needless to say I am completely heartbroken as losing a parent is hard enough, but to know they will be suffering until the end is devastating. This was all very shocking for me as my Mom is 59 years old, I thought we'd have another 15 years to get under each others skin. Cancer is a horrible disease as we all know.

I watched my Grandmother die from lung cancer. I took care of my Grandma until she needed at home hospice. It was one year for my Grandmother- from diagnosis 'til death. It was the day after her funeral that I myself quit smoking cigarettes. My Grandmother made me promise to quit on her deathbed. And my husband (a boyfriend at the time) in an attempt to help me further- told me it was the cigarettes or him. I would never dishonor my Grandmother, so I gave up cigarettes. I remember begging my Mother to quit then. I wish she did, but even so that is no guarantee that she would have thwarted off cancer. Lets face it, it's either cancer or heart disease but we all eventually die. That is the cycle of life, as much as it hurts.

My Mothers prognosis was NOT good. She received 10 full brain radiation treatments and has since started her chemotherapy. Unfortunately chemo lands her in the hospital every time. She called me on my 40th birthday (september 10th) to wish me a happy birthday, and she could barely speak, it sounded like she was drowning. I have begged her to come home to NYC and let me take care of her, but she won't. I would happily do it, but she wants to be with her boyfriend. I am not thrilled about it, but it's her life and who am I to tell her how to face death. We all have our own way of coping. She doesn't want to talk on the phone, so I have been relegated to texting- at her request. She won't text/talk to anybody in the family... She is one of five siblings and they all love her but she doesn't want to deal with anybody except her boyfriend.

And that includes me.

The last time I got to see my Mom was the last week of August. I have asked her every other day to please let me visit her again. She tells me no, or just doesn't text me back until the next day. I certainly don't want to piss her off by pushing myself on her, but I don't know what to do. I fear I will never hold her again. Or look into her face, and that makes my heart break into a million little pieces. If I keep pushing she will shut me out completely like she did with her brothers and sister.

Her "recycled" boyfriend and her got together in April, and she's already made him her medical proxy. That scares me, who is this guy?? Why is she doing this? I just don't understand. Part of me thinks it's the tumors in her brain. She can barely write anymore (if at all) and she has other issues that are presenting as time goes by. Maybe that's why she wants to hide away from me. I sent her this email earlier today, as her texts to me in the last few days have gotten shorter and shorter. Today she texed me two words. Just two little words. "Yea Jets!"

Dear Mom,

I know that you are facing the toughest and most important battle you will ever face. I am truly sorry for you and wish with all my heart that this had not been the hand you were dealt. I understand that it is your life and I respect you for every decision you've ever made- wether I agree or not. I have to say that this happening 1500 miles from home was both a blessing and a curse... It allowed you to survive what would have surely been the end (the seizures) had you been home alone. The curse, is that I'm here and am literally out of the circle even though I am your flesh and blood.

When you were admitted to the hospital a couple of weeks ago, nobody told me. I'm not sure if that is what you really wanted- or maybe it's extraneous circumstances that is prompting that decision, but whatever it is I just don't understand why. Are you trying to protect me from seeing you ill, or do you really want me to leave you be with just Joe? I wonder every minute of every day why I don't get to know what is going on, or more importantly get to see you or even hold you. This is very painful for me, I dare say more so than anybody who knows you. You are my Mother. I came from your womb, don't you get the depth of my connection to you?

it runs as deep as my DNA.

Please let me see you. Even if it's only for one day. Please let me know how much time you have left. Please let me in.

I love you,

I don't know where her health stands as of today- but if the prognosis is right, Christmas is really going to suck this year. I'm hoping and praying for a miracle, but I'm pretty doubtful...

As an aside: Her new recycled boyfriend hates me (get in line buddy!!!! There is a whole group of Doll guys that HATE me) But the fact that this boyfriend doesn't like me is not surprising really, since he told me he divorced his FOURTH wife because he hated her son. AND he just happens to be estranged from his only daughter, but still has a stellar relationship with his son. I suppose as long as he makes my Mother happy and does right by her- I can't ask for more. Truth is, I couldn't give a fuck about him I care only about my mother. I just wish she would let me do more than help her out financially and buy her gifts. I hope the email I sent today is met with a good reception. I'm worried she will stop talking to me altogether, or that her cruddy boyfriend doesn't tell me when she dies.

Anyway, I realize this was a SUPER depressing blog entry but it is where my life is at this moment. I won't be writing about my Mothers illness again, but I may share a happy memory or two. Of course you will know when she passes away... lets hope it's not for a long time.

*So if you've read this far- thanks for putting up with my 'Debbie Downer' blog entry, I promise the next one will be focused on other aspects of life and my photography.

**the above photos are of Chinatown NYC. My mother never cared for my dolls (big or small) or pictures of them to be honest. But she has always LOVED my other work- like my environmental portraits and my black and white photos. So here are two of my favorites that I shot over the summer.