My youngest son arrives from the UK next Saturday, and on the 14th December him and my 3rd son are heading to Cape Town to spend time with the grandparents.
So I was talking to my dad this morning and he’s saying my mum is declining, he’s lucky if she’ll take 15 mouthfuls of food a day. And I wonder, is she only hanging on till she sees her grandsons? Is that what’s keeping her going? They haven’t seen my youngest since December 2013 and my 3rd since 2012.
And I wonder if I should fly down to my folks the day after the boys leave. I worry about my dad being alone when she dies. But at the same time there’s no saying how long she’ll live.
I wonder about how exactly my dad is dealing with this. My sister and the grandchildren know she has cancer, they just don’t know how serious it is. My dad and I are alike in that we can put a good face on things. He’s spoken with me about his fears and that he’s hurting, yet I know that even with me he’ll be holding back. I don’t know which will hurt more, my mum dying, or my dads grief.
And I wonder, how do other people deal with these feelings. With what the outcome is going to be. It doesn’t make it any easier that she’s of an age when natural death can be expected. (She’s 75)
And, again, I wonder, will I ever stop crying when I think about losing her.
So in May this year my mum started to get ill. At first we thought it was IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome). One night my dad went to his stamp club and got a phone call on the way there. It was my mum, she told him she was in unbelievable pain (we’re a family that will be in terrible pain before we complain) My dad shot home and had to take her to emergency. She ended up on morphine as nothing else would dull the pain. Meanwhile they discovered a mass in her stomach area. Long story short, after numerous testing, she has colon cancer.
Fast forward. She went for an operation to remove the mass. It seemed to help. She had almost no pain. Alas it didn’t last long. The biopsy showed that the cancer had spread to her liver and lungs. In the last couple of months she has lost almost 30 kilograms (she was 77kg, now shes 47kg). This is because she barely eats. Shes in so much pain, that even the morphine barely helps. All she does is sleep.
My heart is in pieces. I can’t imagine a world without my mum. Even though over the years we’ve had huge fights or gone months without speaking because we’re peeved with one another. She’s still been my mum, and I’ve always loved her. And as I write this I’m struggling to see through the tears that slide down my cheeks.
And I think, what will my dad do. They’ve been together since 1962 and married since 1963. 53 years married to my mum. I can already see what my mums pain does to my dad. If my heart is in pieces how is my dads.
I’m grateful that with all the things that happened in the past between my mum and I, that I’ve made peace with her. That everytime I fly down to see them, I go lie on the bed beside my mum and hold her while she sleeps. This woman, who was so big to me, is now tiny and fragile. I tell her I love her. When I’m at home, my dad and I talk on the phone everyday and before we hang up he takes the phone through to my mum, holds it beside her ear. And even though she may be sleeping I tell her I love her, that she’s the greatest. And before we hang up I tell my dad I love him and I’m only a phone call away.
Then I go to my bedroom, lie on the bed and cry.
My heart is breaking. Soon, my world will change and never be the same again. I will lose one of the greatest loves of my life. My Mum.
With flying back and forth to spend time with my parents, my routine is shot. I haven’t been going to gym, so this morning I decided it was time to get up and get at it.
WHAT WAS I THINKING??? I plead momentary insanity (more about that in another post). It must have been. Pressing, pulling, pushing. Treadmilling, rowing, stepping. Total forgetness that I’m over 50 and haven’t exercised for around 6 weeks. That I can’t go gungho at it without paying for it. And boy, am I paying. If it’s on or in my body it hurts.
It wasn’t like this earlier while I was still at the gym. Oh no, then I felt great. All I had was that muscle ache that one gets, that was it. Probably explains why I’m now suffering. I got so wrapped up in the whole ‘I feel great’ stage I forgot that my muscles where stiff. I felt ‘so great’ that I went straight to a pilates class afterward. Yeah yeah I know, ‘What was she thinking’. I wasn’t. That’s for sure.
Now I’m sitting here, laptop on my lap, thinking how heavy it feels on my legs, how my hamstrings ache like crazy, I have stomach muscles that hurt and I didn’t even know some of them existed. So, I shall go to gym again tomorrow, and take it a bit easier. Thursday I’ll go to yoga class. And will look forward to knowing that soon it won’t hurt as much. That soon, I’ll be feeling fitter again, and my world will start to align again. That I’ll soon feel like myself.
Or I can always spend the weekend in bed feeling sorry for myself.
Two of my 4 sons moved to the United Kingdom to live and work. One is in the architectural field (2nd son) and the other is in the British Army (4th son).
Last night my youngest (4th) landed in the Mother-Continent, in Kenya to be exact, at the Army Base there. And all I can think about is that he’s only half a continent away, roughly 2950 kms (1820 miles). I know, what’s the big deal, well, he’s normally 2 continents away, roughly 9100 kms ( 5635 miles). And that’s a big deal.
I’ve seen him 3 times since February 2012. Twice he came back to South Africa, and I went there in February this year for his passing out parade. Now that was a BIG DEAL. Talk about proud, I think (actually I know) that I bored everyone to tears talking about it and him. Over and over and over, (you get the picture) again. He was so smart and grown up and my little boy was gone.
There’s something about when the last child leaves home that’s harder to deal with than the others. I suspect it’s because for a while it was just the 2 of us. When he had been gone about 6 weeks I climbed into my wardrobe and screamed and cried for around 4 hours. I thought my heart would never be the same. It was a physical pain, and I could no longer keep it in and to myself, so when it broke it did it in magnificent style. I worry that I’m over attached to him, as more 4 and a half years later, when I think about how far away he is, it still hurts like hell. I feel a pull to return to the UK to be nearer to him and my 2nd son. But I’ve 2 sons here as well, and a grandaughter, and I know if I moved there, I’d miss the 2 here. But such is a mothers’ dilemma.
Anyhoo, back to the original topic. All that stands between myself and my youngest is a 6 hour flight, that’s all that separates us.
And my heart skips with joy, and breaks with the pain from knowing he’s so near yet so far.
I recently flew home from seeing my folks in the Cape Town area, on my birthday I might add, and came home to a sparkling, shiny, oh so pretty, new washing machine. Yeehaa. I’m loving it, its soooo quiet. Unfortunately for my partner, every piece of clothing I see, dirty or not, is making its way into the machine. My previous machine was temperamental, it would stop in the middle of a load or shake so much I was pretty sure I was going to find cracked tiles underneath it. I not talking about a wee put baby to sleep shake, this was a gut wrenching, is it damaging the foundations shake. Trust me, that machine had some very, very, colourful language directed at it, increasing my vocabulary extensively, and sending the dogs to hide under the study desk, too scared to venture back out.
Now, I have one that barely makes a sound during the spin cycle, that gleams and glitters. No longer are the dogs afraid of me, and strangely enough, even my partner is happier when the washings getting done.
Its now playing a tune which is my cue to empty it. Now to find some more clothing to wash. Hopefully I won’t have to start raiding the wardrobes for stuff.
The other day my 2nd son, who lives in London, asked what am I doing with my time. To my dismay I realised “pretty much nothing”. How sad is that, I’m in my early 50’s, and have been retired (which sounds better than saying a layabout) for almost 5 years. The only thing I actually do is yoga and pilates. Wait, I do do something, but not enough. I need to fill my time with more meaningful things than just playing games on the internet.
So, I’ve decided that its time to start renovating the old units from the livingroom so that I can repurpose them for the diningroom. The standard lamp I revamped turned out super so why not. I also need to get back into the habit of taking my camera everywhere with me and photograph more. This was something I had really enjoyed doing. Taking snaps of anything that piqued my interest, then transferring them to my laptop and finding little gems amongst the dozens of photos I had taken.
It’s time to take back my life and fill it with enjoyment. None of us know how much time we have on earth, I need to stop squandering mine and get on and enjoy it.
Meanwhile it’s time for me to finish writing and get out there and start.
Chow for now