I have been wanting to write about my Mom, Sherry, a lot, especially during this holiday season. My Mom’s favorite holidays were Thanksgiving and Christmas and she passed away on December 3, 2015, right in the middle of both of those holidays.
My Mom’s name was Sherry and she was about to retire after many, many years at a job that she wasn’t happy at anymore. In fact, she was to retire on Friday and we were to go celebrate together after her last day of work..many years at a job she no longer loved, with her pay capped and her duties increased…we finally got to celebrate that she no longer had to wake up and do that routine anymore. I was meeting her right after work and we were having her retirement party, just she and I, and my Dad, if he got off of work on time. Just the way the three of us had done it so many Friday’s before…Happy hour on Friday has been my parents and my thing for as many years as I can remember. Happy hour, for me these days doesn’t involve alcohol, like it used to, but I sure was excited for this happy hour with my Mom!
On Thursday night, I got a call from my Dad’s cell phone. My Dad was following the ambulance to Presbyterian Hospital downtown because my Mom fell and could not get up. My Dad said they thought my Mom had a stroke.
Tamara and I arrived there as quickly as we could get there and they admitted my Mom to run some tests. Tamara and I went home around 2:30AM and returned first thing in the morning, with some incidentals and coffee in hand.
The test results were in and they pulled up the MRI of my Mom’s brain. There was a lot of white, which they told me were lesions. I look at these images fairly often in my work and I hated to ask out loud…what I already knew deep inside…lesions are usually cancer.
I hit the floor and I don’t even remember seeing the other films. There were several more films and they were all lit up like Christmas trees…her lungs…her liver…her brain…all metastasis, and from where, they did not know.
My Mom did not have a stroke. As we later found out, my Mom had stage four breast cancer, with metastasis to her liver, her lungs and her brain.
My Mom was in the hospital on Friday morning, while all of her friends and co-workers awaited her arrival at work. Cards and flowers and a cake…a huge celebration had been prepared for her. Sherry did it make it to her last day of work to celebrate her retirement. In fact, Sherry never really got to retire at all.
My Mom went home on Saturday and we started the process of calling doctors, making appointments and planning our family trip to Houston. My parents were to fly to Houston, and all of that changed with my Mom’s visit to the ER. My Mom could not fly, so the four of us decided to make it a family road trip instead. We had oncologist appointments scheduled for when we returned home. We didn’t know it then, but this was to be our last family road trip together.
My Mom did ten rounds of radiation at MD Anderson and was to begin chemotherapy immediately. Unfortunately, the radiation damaged my Mom’s veins and so she had to have a port put in for her chemo treatments.
My Mom was very insistent on sitting in her loveseat when we got home from our appointments, as she did not want to get depressed and stay in bed. On the morning she got her port put in, we came home and she asked to go lie down in her bed. My Mom never got out of that bed without assistance again.
My Mom was adamant that she would fight this, until she had no quality of life left and then she made us promise that we would let her go.
This is what I do every single day…I work with clients to enhance their quality of life. I have always said that when the quality runs out, the quantity really doesn’t matter. It never occurred to me that those words…words that I use almost daily, would be so hard hear coming from her mouth.
We put my Mom in hospice on Monday night. Hospice brought the hospital bed in on Tuesday and My Mom passed away on Thursday, December 3, 2015, peacefully at home, while holding my hand. My Mom had been non-verbal and eyes shut for a few days and in this day, her eyes opened one last time, she squeezed my hand and her soul launched out of that broken body of hers.
I begin my blog with this because this has been the single most painful and heartbreaking time of my entire life. Losing my Mom has leveled me like nothing else ever could.
Not being bullied all throughout my childhood years, and not the horrific abuse I endured, at the hands of a family member, not coming out and navigating my way through being a lesbian in a close-minded and cruel world…not any of the betrayal in relationships…nothing even comes close to this pain. Nothing comes close to the pain I feel of losing my Mom.
Truth be told, that is why I am here…to tell my story. I could not tell my story while my Mom was here next to me, for so many reasons. I am going to tell my story now for myself, for my Mom and for anyone else in this world who has been unable to have their own voice, for whatever reason.
Sherry is a huge topic of conversation for me these days and I will speak her name and honor she and her memory the best that I can for as long as I live.
Our relationship wasn’t perfect, as we are very different from one another. Sometimes these differences caused conflict and disagreement. Most of all though, my Mom was my confidant and my closest friend and I spoke to her every single day, at least once and usually twice, with only one exception.
So, introducing you To Sherry seemed like the first thing to do, as she is ever present in my life now, just as she was when she was right here next to me. Sherry is the reason I am starting this blog and I will rely heavily upon her love and strength as I have my voice and I will be her voice…as I heal us both from a lifetime of hurt that death has spared her from. My Mom’s death has launched me into a journey of healing and pattern changing that I am excited to embark on.
I love you Mom and we are going to heal this together! We healed everything we needed to heal long before you left and not cancer, not the abuse within our family…not anyone or anything, will ever take from me the love I have for you…