Through My Mother’s Eyes

This month’s Remember The Time blog hop is joining up with the Weekly Writing Challenge for the theme: a memory told through the viewpoint of someone else. When I first read this, I thought I’d sit this one out. After all, how could I possibly be so brazen as to purport to convey someone else’s viewpoint about one of my memories?

But then I kept thinking of my mom and one day in particular, when she had just begun hospice care and her health was frantically declining. And so the following is told through my mother’s viewpoint and I hope my words would bring her satisfaction that maybe, just maybe, we did understand each other better than either of us realized.

__________________

I’m scared. It seems that I’ve exhausted all my options at fighting this cancer that has been ravaging my body. I told Shannon about my decision last week to have no further treatments. She, too, looked scared but also relieved.

One thing I didn’t know about cancer is that it hurts. That it’s really painful–at least mine is. It’s the worst pain I’ve ever experienced, in fact. The Extra-Strength Tylenol they had me take for pain during my treatments only slightly helped. But now that I’m under hospice care, they’re giving me the powerful stuff. And I feel some relief. But I also notice that my mind is becoming fuzzy…I’m confused about what’s going on and can’t remember an explanation five minutes after it’s given. It’s sinking in that I’m coming to the “terminal” part of terminal cancer and I don’t like it.

Shannon arranged for hospice to deliver this bed I’m now lying in, in the middle of our living room. Last night she had to call the fire department because I fell and she couldn’t get me up. Apparently they hadn’t locked the wheels on the bed when they set it up and it slipped from beneath us when Shannon tried to help me from the couch to it. Shannon looked scared again. Honestly, I kind of enjoyed the attention. Some of those men were handsome! I told Shannon she should find out if any of them were single, but she just gave me that annoyed look she always has when she wants me to stay out of her business.

Shannon had to work today so my ex sister-in-law drove nearly an hour in the wee hours of the morning to stay with me while Shannon was out. I can’t tell you the love I feel from this selfless act of service. I’ve only spoken to her a few times since my divorce from her brother nearly twenty years ago. But here she is, at my side, making sure I have my pain medicine and jello, and helping me go to the bathroom or turn from side to side. She was a nurse and it’s evident that caring for others is natural to her.

When Shannon got home, her aunt left and Shannon climbed up next to me on the tiny bed. I always loved when she would lie next to me, but she’s not very touchy-feely and wouldn’t humor me very often. She preferred instead to be off by herself. So this small act made my heart leap! I had my little girl next to me again, just like old times when she would beg me to let her sleep with me.

It’s hard to say the words. The powerful words. The words that will be remembered. But it was time.

“Shannon?” I quietly spoke.

“Yes, Mom?”

I breathed in a deep breath, “Shannon, today while you were at work I prayed that I would have more time…” I heard Shannon choke  back a tear with her head pressed to my chest as I continued, “…more time to be with you.”

I held Shannon as she cried gently upon my shoulder and I cried, too, because I know our time is limited.

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View this week’s other entries here.

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10 responses to “Through My Mother’s Eyes

  1. I’m sobbing right now…to know what you and your mother went through. To understand how you cared for your mother during this time. And as a mother, trying to imagine what she was feeling knowing she was going to have to leave you. That had to have been the hardest part for her, harder than the pain. I want to go hug my kids now.

    This was beautiful, Shannon.

  2. Beautiful! I just went through something similar to this with my sister (blogged on my page called “Words Fail”). Heart-wrenching stuff this business of life.

  3. My mom has always loved those moments when I climbed in bed with her. She usually only asked me to when she was feeling sad or lonely, but I usually made up some excuse to stay in my own bed. It took me becoming a parent myself to understand how that physical touch that your child gives you is so incredibly important. You gave your mom hat physical love, Shannon. I loved this. So poignant and beautiful. Even though I didn’t know your mom, I know this would have pleased her beyond words.

    • Thanks, Emily. I had a complicated relationship with my mom and never felt I was good at letting her know how much she meant to me. So it makes me happy to hear that you think this would have pleased her!

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