EEHHH...No title.  Just Read

EEHHH...No title. Just Read

A Story by Carol Cashes
"

A painful event

"

My mother told me two weeks ago that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013, and was coming to the point that she would soon require hospice care. 

 

My mother is fiercely independent and has always kept her affairs close to her chest.  Too many times to count, I am only notified of her “business” after the fact.  I understand my mother and, while this can be unnerving at times, I have always respected her right to privacy, never mind our relationship as mother and daughter.  Blood does not buy you or entitle you to be privy to all of another’s affairs, and there are matters that I have not divulged to my mother. 

 

That she would be coming to the end of her days is not a surprise, either, but the the how of it was a painful blow.  She is 78.  She has beat cancer five  times in the past " losing both her vocal cords and has had a tracheotomy for the last twenty years"commonly called a neck breather.  she has some heart conditions, COPD, has had four knee surgeries and suffers from macular degeneration in her right eye that requires a shot, yes a long-needled shot, right into her eyeball once a month.  I have accompanied her several times to these appointments and have always felt that if she can bear it, I can certainly observe.  While too many scenes from the movie franchise Saw initially would race across my mind’s eye, the first few times, I now observe with a more clinical eye.  She has degenerative disease in her neck and other painful ailments that accompany many of the elderly. 

 

She will be buried with two of her four children.  My sister died in 2004 of acute pancreatitis directly related to her alcoholism.  She became bed ridden the last eight months of her life and upon her death weighed sixty pounds.  Due to the gallon of Jim Beam ever constant by her bedside, my mother found her covered in ants.  Ants.  In her final months, she was consumed with hate and disdain for myself and my mother, while we faithfully cared for her, coming to her home twice a week to bathe and clean her living quarters.  She spewed her poisonous venom from the time of our arrival until we left and only by my mother’s example of loving one who acts the least lovable was I able to persevere.  The saddest thing I have ever seen in my life, bar none, was my mother adjusting the straps of the while nightgown set that we purchased for her cremation.  Bent over under the light of a lamp, with needle and thread, she adjusted the length of the straps to ensure that it fit her emaciated frame properly"this for a child who expressed hate and distrust to me of our mother when she was out of earshot.  This scene is sometimes unbearable and unforgiving in its refusal to fade in my memory as time passes. 

 

My brother, also an alcoholic, found sobriety as he assumed the position of caretaker for my sister in her final year.  They lived together in a kind of harmony in the small trailer she purchased outright when she received her settlement from her divorce. He remained in the trailer after her death, maintaining his independence as his only source of income was Disability through Social Security.  In the last ten years, he had undergone five hip replacements and lived with chronic pain for all of that time.  When in September of 2015, he slipped down the wooden steps of his trailer, he shattered his pelvis.  After some time in a rehabilitation center and, well, some time, his pelvis healed enough to the surgeon to perform one final hip replacement, this time successfully.  For the first time in ten years, he was becoming pain free and was optimistic about his simple life. In December of 2016, he died of a massive heart attack and was discovered by my father and a couple of friends who were concerned when they observed that his mail and newspapers had not been collected.

 

He was the only sibling I was close to, surprisingly, as he was only 12 when I left home at 18 and left for anywhere away from here.  When I became involved in gold prospecting, he traveled to Reno, Nevada where I was living at the time and moved in with me.  We found a shared passion and this cemented our close friendship and blood ties.  He was the only sibling that I shared an “adult” relationship with and we discovered that we also shared a sharp and sarcastic humor.  I loved him as a dear friend and the blood relationship only served as a bonus.

 

When my mother received the call from my father and notified me, I raced to her home and we sped to a too familiar scene of the coroner’s vehicle and a hearse, parked almost in the identical locations as the day of my sister’s death.  That two of my siblings, two of my mother’s children had died in the same house was not lost on me and to this day, the memory of that catches in my throat.

 

It is the kind of death my mother is facing that I find difficult to resolve.  Her own dignity and acceptance demands no less of me, and had she died in her sleep, I would mourn the mother of my childhood and the woman of incredible strength and faith I knew in adulthood, but lung cancer is not kind.   She has refused all treatment, even simple biopsies that would provide clues to the extent and possible time limits she faces.  On the day she told me of her condition, she said that she was sure the cancer had spread to her spine as she was experiencing pain in that area.  Her decision to call in hospice is based solely on the fact that the masses in her lungs periodically squeeze her esophagus, making it difficult for her to breathe or eat.  She has no doubt that this heinous disease is also present in other organs besides her spine as she is well versed in the nature of cancer, and especially since she was initially diagnosed in 2013.  Her calm demeanor that day, the day she told me of her certain death, has guided my own behavior"for the most part.  It is the very bad way that she will go to her God that I am having difficulty resolving.

 

When she told me, she also commanded me that no one"NO ONE"was to be told, that it was her decision alone who, if anyone, would have prior knowledge of the why of her death.  She further confessed that if she could, she would bar me from telling my husband, but she understands the nature of my marriage and realizes that is not an option. 

 

As I previously stated, all arrangements have been made, paid for and there is to be no deviation of her wishes.  There will be no funeral, only a wake the day before her burial and a small list of ten people who are allowed to attend.  Her many tradition bound friends will have difficulty understanding this, but I do not.  My only task upon notification from either hospice or the coroner is to contact her pastor, giving him strict instructions that NO flowers are to be sent to me or her home and positively NO food, either brought to her home or mine, nor to any impromptu “memorial” her church might think they should observe.  She is quite adamant about this and I am grateful. 

 

I debated this past week whether or not I should post what I have no choice but to write about.  I decided, and am hoping, that no one knows my mother, and therefore this is an anonymous forum in that respect.

 

I anticipate some hard days for me emotionally, again, directly in connection to the difficult and painful manner of my mother’s death.  I am also so, so grateful that I joined this site prior to knowledge of this as the writing of the coming days is certain and necessary.

 

Thank you to all of you who have welcomed me and made me feel that I could disclose and write about this coming painful time freely and openly.  I need this forum…and you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


© 2017 Carol Cashes



Author's Note

Carol Cashes
I have no need of an outpouring of sympathy. Only that you are witness to this process as I write of it.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Reviews

Understood. It's very sad to hear all that happened to you both, and I can somewhat see where she's coming from in not wanting her death to be that big of a deal. I've never actually known it to happen though, so reading this brought out a new perspective. I agree that acknowledgement and acceptance is a better hug than casseroles or flowers could ever bring

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


:( i am sitting here for you ... right now.
E.

Posted 2 Months Ago


damn.. you just wrote my story.. your mother and mine could have been cut from the same cloth.. while your circumstances with your siblings are different the emotion is pretty similar.. your journey is your journey.. I can only offer a sympathetic ear if you need it..

Posted 2 Months Ago


Sometimes we NEED the clarity of speaking aloud to deal with our own minds' perceptions... memories have a way of happening when we consciously least expect them.

Beyond that - there ARE other things I could say but won't and they aren't about sympathy and condolence. We've filled a lot of "shoes" along our ways.

Posted 2 Months Ago


Carol Cashes

2 Months Ago

The writing of this is to keep all things in perspective as emotions will be intense and could cloud.. read more
Chris

2 Months Ago

Too often what WE want shades our perception and understanding of what someone else WANTS...
Your mother sound like a strong woman. She defeated cancer and she lived her life her way. Thank you Carol for sharing the story. Each of us want more or less. I believe we must follow the need of the person.
Coyote

Posted 2 Months Ago


Carol Cashes

2 Months Ago

Final wishes trump any personal feelings one may have and have no sympathy for the reluctant "becaus.. read more
Coyote Poetry

2 Months Ago

I agree dear Carol.
There are many similarities between my own large family & what you're describing here about your family. People get sick & die in my family without telling anyone until much later afterwards. We are very disjointed as a family unit & I'm feeling some of that in your descriptions, even when there's a family devotion in some cases (missing in my own family). I totally get your dispassionate telling.

Posted 2 Months Ago


Carol Cashes

2 Months Ago

Yes, barleygirl, we do have some similarities, especially with siblings. My mother recruited me to .. read more
I like simplicity of emotions that makes it original enough to fall for.
keep up

Posted 3 Months Ago


Carol Cashes

2 Months Ago

This is real, APOORVA. I just used this forum to express some of my feelings about it...
Tha.. read more
No outpouring of sympathy from me... Just keep your head up, you wonderful writer, you...

Posted 3 Months Ago


Carol Cashes

2 Months Ago

Head is up, my mother would ban me if I didn't uphold the first maxim of her "other" religion - Sout.. read more
Keep writing Carol. God Bless.
(hugs)

Posted 3 Months Ago


Carol Cashes

2 Months Ago

Thanks for the hugs, Tony. I have no choice but to write this out...it's how I will resolve the emo.. read more
Yes, death is a very hard thing to accept. I think your mother is very brave, and I hope that I will be as 'matter of fact' as she, when my time comes. It must be very hard for you. I try to think of death as 'natural'. Who knows what happens afterwards? Maybe something wonderful, as those of faith, say. And I like to think that God helps us bear the pain. Very few deaths are without pain. Well done for sharing.

Posted 3 Months Ago


Carol Cashes

2 Months Ago

Funny, while I would wish her to live forever, the realist in my knows her demise was inevitable. I.. read more
Great Aunt Astri

2 Months Ago

Yes, I agree about the 'how'. I don't think many people have 'pleasant' deaths, but I am sure 'somet.. read more

First Page first
Previous Page prev
1
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

350 Views
13 Reviews
Rating
Added on July 16, 2017
Last Updated on July 16, 2017
Tags: non-fiction

Author

Carol Cashes
Carol Cashes

Biloxi, MS



About
I'm very cynical, jaded, just this side of bitter and the only reason I haven't crossed that line is a good man loves me. I am extremely empathetic, but seldom sympathetic. I can be a ferociously lo.. more..

Writing

Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..


Dynasty Dynasty

A Poem by Ana B.