"it's not good", the oncologist said to my mom. "i cant give you a timeline, but i'm afraid that the cancer will..."
"take my life?!", she said, finishing his sentence.
she knew the answer. we all did. we could tell by the concerned look on his face.
sure enough, he nodded, followed by a very solemn 'yes'.
somehow those words pierced me even harder coming from my mom. in an odd way, it made it more personal, more real. "my life", she said. my mom's life. my only remaining parent. my rock, my inspiration.
for the next fifteen minutes, i sat there feeling numb, zoning in and out as my mom and her doctor discussed the next steps; steps that will inevitably lead to her passing on from this world to the next.
selfishly, i want my mom here. i love her, and need her.
but selflessly, i don't want her to suffer any more, a battle that keeps me awake at night.
what keeps me going, though, are these few principles/practices:
1) i cherish every moment.
of my life, and of my mom's life. even after her most recent appointment, my family and i found ourselves sitting around the lunch table cracking jokes and enjoying each other's company as usual. while there have been, and will continue to be, very painful moments along the journey, there have also been very beautiful ones in the midst of them.
2) i remain thankful.
i remember feeling deeply alone the last time my mom went through treatment, but this time the complete opposite is true. in just a few short days, i've felt an army of people surround me and lift me up, lift us up. my managers have been nothing but kind, and accommodating, and ready to give me time off whenever i need it. some of my friends have made long distance calls [even from texas] and have sent texts, and one even went as far as to send me enough money to cover my first trip to ottawa to be with my mom, who, at the moment, is being taken good care of by my younger sister, amanda, and her husband, al, there.
3) i cry & i write.
both of these things are therapeutic for me. crying releases pain, and writing helps me process it.
and lastly, and most importantly,
4) i cling to my favourite scripture, psalm 121:1-2:
i lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
my help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.