Mom's Terminal Cancer Journey

Mar 23rd 2018

All through my life I've written in journals expressing my feelings on the things I encounter along life's path. Since I own and operate The Funeral Program Site, I've decided to document and journal my own experience of death within my immediate family. It is also my hope that anyone reading who may or will experience something similar, can be encouraged.

I recently found out my mother has terminal cancer. It was a shock to my system, to say the least– as I really was not prepared for such tragic news. I was so hopeful that the mass the doctor found on her liver would be benign. After receiving the news, a host of various emotions flooded me that ranged from surprise to guilt. She has just been recently released from the hospital and is currently residing in Florida with my sister.

That in itself, is a hardship since my sister also cares for her two little children and husband. She is definitely not prepared, emotionally or physically to care for a terminally ill mother. I feel helpless having to watch from the other side of the United States. I do not want her to carry this burden but we don't have any other options at this time.

Hospice has been called and has started the first day with her. Mom's current physical condition today after she has received 2 pints of blood before being released from the hospital is alert and fiesty. It will only decline from here. The doctor has given her 6 months but she may not even last that long. Her diabetes may complicate things even more which could shorten the life span estimated.

Today, I am stronger than I was yesterday and the day before when first hearing of the news. I can at least get some work done and found it a little easier to get through the day. Being a woman of faith, helps tremendously. Having people who care about you and are praying for you is a blessing for which I am so thankful. I am humbled by the amount of love expressed from friends.

My sister and I have had the conversation of making the funeral arrangements. It is almost too hard to bear and a feeling of disbelief, really. What has been particularly challenging in the midst of all this, is the family (dysfunctional) dynamics with my mom's siblings. I imagine all families have issues but no one should have to go through this during a time of need.

Being the oldest and probably the most experienced since I deal with bereaved families every day, I will be doing all the planning and arrangements. Even though I'm so accustomed to being around death, you are never really prepared to handle one so close to home. There are so many considerations such as finance and decisions on body disposal. I am now on the other side of the fence along with my customers. I know this will equip me to be empathetic to those whom I serve. I am thankful to be educated in this area although, it is never a good place to be when your having to plan it for your own mother.

The ball has started rolling and now we must wait to see what tomorrow brings to determine what we need to do next. This is going to be quite a journey ahead and so I brace myself for the ride.