We recently just passed the 1 year anniversary of one of the harder moments of my life. A year ago this past weekend while driving up to spend the weekend at Lake Erie with Julie and her parents I received the most difficult phone call of my life. It was Tom and he was down in Houston, Tx where my mom was getting cancer treatment. I remember looking at my callerID, seeing his number and feeling a chill run through my spine. I didn’t really ever talk to Tom directly, but we normally just spoke when I called to speak to my mom. I knew him calling was not good. When I picked up the phone it was Tom and Andrea (in California at the time) on the other end. “Guys, first let me say your mom is in good hands and is feeling good right now, but yesterday she had a seizure on her way to get treatment. They brought her here to Intensive Care and did some tests. The cancer has indeed spread to her brain….” You never really can expect to hear something like that about someone you really love and care for. Such a flood of emotions well up within you that they overwhelm your body. I remember being numbed to the core, like I was made of ice, I couldn’t move. I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t breathe. Julie pulled the car over at a Burger King, immediately sensing the severity of the situation. Tom assured us my mom was still in good spirits, and that we would get to talk to her either later that night or the next day. I knew my mom was sick, but I really had no idea she was that sick. She was so strong. I had just seen her a few weeks before and quite frankly she looked pretty good. She did seem much more frail than I was used to, but she was so strong that she continued on normally for the most part. I remember sitting in that Burger King parking lot crying my eyes out. I remember my whole body shaking, my hands, my legs, my feet, my head. I tried so hard to reach for positives. I spoke to Andrea and we worked together to remind each other of the truth: anything is possible. We were committed to supporting my mom in her fight. The next 60 days or so were undoubtedly the most emotional days I’d ever experienced in my life.
Here I am a year later, and I can’t believe it. Looking back on that experience I am still filled with emotions, and I marvel how much my life has changed. My mom taught me so many lessons in her life, and the last few months certainly provided a wealth of life knowledge as well. As I’ve said so many times before, I could certainly say that one of my greater fears in life was losing a loved one, especially my mom. It certainly is inevitable for all of us, but I always felt like it was something that both only happened to other people, and I wasn’t one capable of dealing with that. I am capable of dealing with that I now see. Quite frankly I see that I’m capable of dealing with anything else that comes along the way as well.
I made it. I’m ok. In fact, I’m very happy. I’m slowly tossing the fears aside and truly in pursuit of happiness. No longer worried about doing this or doing that because I think I’m supposed to, but instead doing what I want to do. My mom has provided me with the lessons and the means to fill my days with happiness and success. So I sit a year later so grateful for the time I had with my wonderful, super smart, caring, and always loving mother. All is well.
(sunset in East Hampton, Ny on 10/21/06)
2 comments on “One year later”
Dan,I’d forgotten about making that call, it was the hardest call I’ve ever made; in fact that period of my life was the toughest, yet most rewarding I’ve ever been through. Why it was tough is obvious, but at the same time your Mom and I got to share a lot of time together. We talked, laughed and continued to make plans, we both believed she would pull through and that today, a year later, we’d be living somewhere near the ocean she so loved. It was rewarding because I, like you, was privileged to be with her during the final days of her journey.Her journey also brought me closer to you and Andrea, for which I will always be grateful. She, like me with Eric and Jackie, was always the buffer between us and with that buffer removed I’ve gotten to know the two of you as she did. She will always be with us. All is well.Love,Tom
[…] My post from last year (which just reading now I realized is very similar to what I’ve written above) […]