In the Blink of an Eye — The Final Five Months 5

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer …
Romans 12:12

We finally sprung Mom from the hospital on Sept. 1, but it was quickly evident she was getting weaker and weaker. She fell a couple of times at home because she “didn’t want to burden” to me. The radiation, while working on shrinking the tumors in her brain, left her completely wiped out. And, as it turned out, her weakened immune system allowed the cancer cells in her liver to attack again with a vengeance.

She did complete her radiation Sept. 16, but was in pretty much constant pain. The doctor thought it might be a muscle bruise or bone injury from one of her falls and suggested a bone scan. We both knew it was more than that. Mom said she didn’t want any more tests, so we opted to wait out our next appointment with Dr. Ignaczak the following week.

wedding 2I may not have wanted to face it, but Mom knew this was the beginning of the end. When we saw PA Dr. Tracy Meyer, she was still going by blood work from Mom’s hospital admission. As she was talking to us, Dr. Ignaczak knocked on the door, sat down and gave us the news. The cancer had returned — both in Mom’s liver and lung. There was nothing more that could be done. It was too soon to restart chemo and too extensive for more radiation. The best they could do was keep Mom comfortable until it was time to let go. The doctors estimated a couple of weeks. We got a couple of days.

Mom was so weak. But she was still stoic. We conference called you guys Tuesday afternoon with the news and, thank you from the bottom of my heart, for your response and quick arrival. All she wanted was to see her kids again.

The plan was for me to give you the letters and sentimental “things” to remember her by after she died. But when you all got there by Thursday night (Sept. 25), she wanted to say goodbye to you kids personally.

I know it was emotional for you guys, just as much as it was for Mom and me. But she wanted me to let you know you all were her life. In her letter to me — yes, she wrote one to me as well — she wanted me to make sure each of our children knew, though she made a lot of mistakes along the way, she did her best and above all, she loved you with all her heart and soul … unconditionally.

Mom had a rough Thursday night/Friday morning, but we were able to talk alone, walk down Memory Lane again and say the things we wanted to say to each other. Early Friday morning, she said she was tired of hurting. I told her it was okay. This journey hurts — and it will hurt — but we would rather hurt than her. When she was ready, just go. Our Lord was waiting.

urn 1She was basically unresponsive all day Friday, Friday night and Saturday morning, but her breathing became more and more labored. At 12:35 p.m. she opened her eyes and we all gathered around her to tearfully say goodbye. She took her last breath at 12:38 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27.

I don’t know much about the mechanics of death, but I do know Mom faced it with grace and dignity. There was no apprehension. There was no tension in her hands. It may not be scientifically nor theologically true, but I believe her eyes opened to the glory of eternity as she saw her Lord and Savior come with open arms to embrace her and bring her to the Father.

She wrote to me, “Ready or not the Lord is going to bring me to a new home. I’m not sure He’s ready but who am I to question? I do wonder what it is like. I guess we are always afraid of the ‘unknown’ and, trust me, I’m no different. Eternity is a long time. Do you think I’ll be charged with cleaning? Maybe cooking? Wow, can you imagine the kitchen I’d have there? I could do the cooking and be in heaven … literally. The only thing I know for sure is that there will be no more cancer, no more tears, no more tiredness or sickness, swollen bodies from fluids and poisons. Just, joy, laughter, praise, worship and glorious peace.”

serious frontMy prayer is when it is time for me to join her, I have the same peace, grace and dignity.

Which brings us to the next chapter … It’s All About Faith.

To be continued …

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: If you let God navigate, you’ll find all the time you’ve been blown around, you were actually storming home.

serious inside

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About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
This entry was posted in Blink of an Eye, death, encouragement, Faith, family, God, grace, grief, heaven, inspiration, Karen, Life, love, Memories, prayer, relationships and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to In the Blink of an Eye — The Final Five Months 5

  1. Jim Matthews says:

    Joe,
    Your words and honor for a life well lived. I felt dignity and peace as she accepted Jesus. I followed your blogs and appreciate the feelings that envelop kind words. Keep me posted if you ever make it to central Jersey headed to shore. Mi casa su casa , I live about 3 or 4 miles from great adventure.
    Great to see you at the Reunion. Did you make the June 2002 Mass and dinner in gym
    I will keep an eye open for the demo.
    Jason Valente stays close.
    Guys like you and I amongst others really got the message of Don Bosco.
    I can never understand those jilted where they seemed to dwell on the negative.
    Light a candle curse the darkness.
    Vaya con Dios hermano, Jim

    James Matthews
    CHAMPION TRADING CORP.
    P.O. Box 227
    95 South Main Street
    Marlboro,NJ 07746
    732-780-4200
    732-780-9839
    http://www.champtrading.com
    jim@champtrading.com

  2. TamrahJo says:

    When you send a missive, via prayer, to your Mom, can you let her know I wish I had gotten to meet her, here, but hope the Unknown is as I envision –

    -That when I travel There, I will find her in the kitchen or home or front porch of my loved ones – and greets me with, “Well – so, you are finally here – we’ve been waiting for you to get home and me and your Grandma whipped up supper for you – but your Dad, Son and Uncles have a surprise, to show you, first….” – and there, will be my lil home, in middle of a garden, complete with a kitchen table where she and I can have coffee/tea and I finally get to visit with her 🙂 [hugs]

    • She would have loved to meet you!

      • TamrahJo says:

        I, so many hours (minutes?) ago, added my wish for such things to The Universal Fulfillment Center Order List!

        In my heart, trust she and I will visit someday – and someday, if I don’t meet you on the exact day I visit the Chatterbox – well – I’ll get to sit and have beverage with you, in the arbor – or walk the fields, gardens, streamside and we, too, will commune –

        THAT is the promise and faith that keeps me going in the dark days – that angels walk among us & someday, I’ll meet in person all those who made such a difference to my life, here –

        Yes, I trust the great Unknown to know the deepest wishes of my heart and to send angels when I might not otherwise get the message!

        For I also have trust that just what is needed, will show up in time – though that trust has been sorely tested this past year as I tried mightily to have faith – thanks for reminding me! 🙂

  3. Lou says:

    She was a very brave woman and you a very loving husband. My wife was just diagnosed with DCIS breast cancer but with surgery and radiation treatment should be 100% recovery- God willing.

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