Now it can be told

typed for your pleasure on 4 July 2009, at 2.16 pm

I’m not one for emotional posts; frankly, I think there’d be extended wincing on both the side of the reader, and the side of the writer. But y’know, sometimes these things are unavoidable.

Back in 2007, my mum went into hospital for a routine check-up. When all the tests came back in, they called her back, saying that they’d found what may be a cancerous growth. Turns out that yes, it was colorectal cancer. So they got Mum into surgery, had it out, and had her on chemo/radiation to make sure. Eventually, she was given a clean bill of health, and we all thought that was that.

Late last year, we discovered that wasn’t that, as the cancer had returned. So Mum started treatments again. It took place over the course of winter, which was doubly-hard on her, as the treatments made her more susceptible to cold environments. But she took it all in stride, as she was never one to complain about things. Well, at least, not at length.
Round the beginning of 2009, the hospital said they were going to try out a new and experimental treatment with her, as the previous one wasn’t getting the immediate results. Thing is, there were a limited number of slots for treatment, as it was on this ‘you’ll have to wait in the queue when your turn comes up’ system. As she was waiting for her date to start treatment, the hospital discovered she was having liver problems, which would’ve prevented effective and safe treatment, so they had to get that sussed first. A couple of outpatient surgeries later, they attended to her liver issue (it was blockage) as well as they could. However, as she had to get that done — and that required scheduling, which is never immediate — Mum missed her slot for the new treatment, and so had to wait for another open slot. Of course, that meant the cancer was still progressing in the meantime.

I’d seen her in April, checking up on her and whatnot, and asked if she’d started proceedings. She replied no, as she was still having some liver-related issues. In between waiting on slots and waiting on surgeries, she’d actually developed jaundice, which again, postponed cancer treatment. She was annoyed, but still optimistic. She wasn’t a pessimist, but she tended to have a realistic outlook on things. In the case of something like this, however, optimism is what everyone aims for.
During another check-up call on Mum in mid-June, I spoke with her for only a couple of minutes, as she was in some amount of pain. The drugs she were taking were exhausting her, and making her tired and irritable. She told me that she wanted me to come round, as ‘we need to talk’, which is a phrase that, considering the context, I didn’t want to hear.

As she, my dad, and I sat in the basement watching coverage of the Iran election cavalcade, they laid it out for me: essentially, the doctors had told her that between the tag team of cancer and jaundice, things had gotten to a point that they were discontinuing treatment, as there was nothing more they could do. They estimated that she had about six months to live. Insert line about ‘you never think it’ll happen to you’ here.
Six months was a hugely optimistic estimate. Between her liver, the cancerous tumours on her liver, and her original colorectal cancer, she was in a very rapid decline. I promised to stop round on Mondays and Saturdays to see her, and over the course of two weeks, her health had degenerated in no time flat.

I stopped round after work yesterday, as we’d gotten off early, and Mum had been in bed all day, and was so weak that she couldn’t even really speak. Sitting with her was Gran, who’d flown in from Alabama on Wednesday. We chatted for a bit, and she went downstairs with Dad so I could be with Mum alone. I held her hand and talked to her — I told her how I was dragged to that hideous Transformers movie, and she managed a smile — but otherwise, she was barely lucid. I probably took off from there about two hours later, telling everyone that I’d be back Saturday morn.
As is our wont, on Friday eves, my good friend Marika stops round, and we watched the last two episodes of Ashes to ashes (hell of a show, it goes without saying), and she decided to crash here for the night, as her car was having problems. Whilst she was reading on the loveseat, I was scheduling about three posts to automatically post to ‘Shouting etc etc’, when Dad rang at a quarter to 5am. As you suspect, Mari and I spent a couple of hours crying after I hung up.

Although I’m an atheist, I can say without bias that she was an example of a perfect christian — never wished ill will upon others, always was there for practically anyone when they needed help, never smoked, drank… hell, she even quit swearing sometime in the mid-Eighties. She was someone who legitimately made a difference in society by being a good human being.
All of my friends knew that Mum had cancer, but I only got a chance to tell some of them. Part of me wanted to wait for the ‘right’ moment, and part of me was still in denial about everything. So now the world knows, and clichéd as it sounds, the world is dimmer for Mum no longer being in it.

I love you, Mum. Always have, always will.


21 Sept 1948 – 04 July 2009

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21 have spoken to “Now it can be told”

  1. safetinspector writes:

    Oh, shit! I had no idea she was even sick, you’d never mentioned it!

    I only met her the once and even in so brief an encounter she seemed very gracious and lovely. I’m very sorry to know that I’ll never get a chance to get to know her better first-hand.

    I wouldn’t presume to know how you feel or what you and your family is going through, but suffice it to say that if you need anything or even just sorta-kinda could use something that I can provide, please let me know.

  2. Mike Majestic writes:

    I am so, so sorry to hear this Davecat. I just got a call from Jeff and then your Tweet post popped up. I actually had no idea you were going through all this 🙁 I know it’s been some time since I last had seen your Mother but I always remember her as a genuine class act and a really nice person. She was always friendly and hospitable when I visited your house back during our 4 track recording days. I don’t know what else to say other than she will be missed and the world is a lesser place for it.

    Mj <>

  3. Gina writes:

    Wow…I never met her, but from your beautiful words & her beautiful photo, I can tell that she definitely was a beautiful person, inside & out.
    My thoughts & heart are with you!
    -g

  4. Veach writes:

    Thank you for sharing this difficult-to-write post. Please know that if there were words which would ameliorate, I would type every one of them.

  5. Jaems writes:

    Davecat,

    Having lost both parents, I know how tough this can be. My condolences on your loss. I’m here to listen anytime, should the need arise. I knew things were bothering you lately and we hadn’t spoken of them.

    On the plus side, your mum no longer feels any pain.

    You and your family are in my deepest thoughts.

    -J

  6. Anonymous Realdoll Owner writes:

    I never know what to say when someone has a loss. Sorry never sounds right…Davecat this sucks..that fits. Cancer sucks!

    Thank you for sharing this on your blog. you have a beautiful way with words my friend.

    Our family has had a loss like this one, not to long ago in fact…and Cancer sucks..it really just SUCKS.

    A hug sometimes works for me…so I will give you a cyber hug my friend.

  7. Crazyjose writes:

    Having been there also, I know it not easy. Words can’t really help ease the pain but family and friend will. Always know we are here for you.

  8. Mahtek writes:

    My deepest sympathy, Davecat.

    I had never met her, I wish that I had. She created such a wonderful individual.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. You may be an Atheist, but I am not, and I’m sure that she is in a place without pain or sorrow. May the God that I believe in grant you solace.

  9. PBShelley writes:

    Please accept my condolences over your loss, DC. Hell even that well-intentioned line sounds hollow, cold, and distant, and probably feels the same to you now in your moment of separation.

    Your post (and photo) really portrayed her vividly though, and I can well-imagine what a good person she was, and if nothing else, that is the best we can do here: be a good person, despite how the current fashion for being a jerk prevails and pressures peers and foes alike to “be bad”. It’s plain that she was the opposite of that.

    I’m sure that your mom is in her well-deserved place, and embraced there, in the destiny that awaits all of us, each of us, whatever our beliefs. The roughest part now is on the rest of her loved ones that she’s left behind, and I’ll pray/send positive thoughts your way in the hope that it gets easier to bear as time goes by…

    PBS

  10. Euchre writes:

    Oh man… I don’t know what to say… If you want to talk give me a call… please. You called me when my ex passed. At least let me return the favor. Take care. Everyone’s thinking of you.

    Euch

  11. Alice writes:

    Oh, sweetie, I’m so sorry to hear this. I live in near constant fear of going through this inevitable loss, and I spend most of that time in denial about it as well…
    Your momma is beautiful and I hope that you can find some kind of peace in this situation.
    My thoughts are with you hon. Take some time to grieve.
    *hugs*

  12. Everhard writes:

    I too am an atheist/agnostic, but where do they all go? (Some mathematicians postulate that our universe is merely the three-dimensional shadow of a four-dimensional hyperuniverse. I guess it might be true, and maybe we all go from here to there, but we can never know until we go there ourselves, if we do.)

    I would like to think that my mum is being introduced to your mum and they are laughing at how we turned out in our different but similar ways.

    She must have been proud that her son became an ambassador of individualism to the world.

  13. DarthSatanus writes:

    I am so sorry to hear this, Davecat. Please accept my condolences. I lost my Mom last year. She was my best friend and confidant. Emotional post or not, it does help. I blogged just about every day for months after my Mom passed. If you need to vent or anything, I am here. Your Mom was a lovely lady! I agree with Everhard, I am sure she was very proud to know that you are an ambassador to individuality!

  14. Wolfgang writes:

    Masako and I send our deepest sympathies. Your mother was a warm and wonderful person, funny in a gently dry and witty way that was definitely passed on to her progeny. Our thoughts are with you and if you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask for it. Big hugs and much love from both of us.

  15. Davecat writes:

    This… this is awful and awesome simultaneously, which is what you expect from events such as this, and the subsequent outpouring of sympathy.
    And see, the thing is, Mum was the sort of open-minded person who would genuinely like every single one of you, if she hadn’t already met you. That’s the kind of person she was.

    Thanks to each and every one of you, for your heartfelt sympathy. Well, I say ‘thanks’, but as a word, it falls short. Hopefully you know what I mean.

  16. emmet writes:

    i’m so sorry. your mum sounds like an amazing woman. there’s so much spirit in that photo, and so much love and honour for her comes through in your words. i’m sure your mum felt blessed to have you as a son.

    and you know, i’m agnostic, but i’ve got a hunch that souls like to stay in rotation, ‘specially the really solid ones. in which case, somewhere down the road, somebody’s gonna get at least a fair portion of the smile behind those eyes, and share it in turn with everyone they meet.

    i don’t know. maybe i’m speaking metaphorically and maybe i’m talking about straight up magic, but i don’t think people end quite the way they seem to. the world is still a better place.

    more life,
    emmet

  17. Dr. Goldfoot writes:

    Davecat, I’m stunned by your loss, and my heart goes out to you and your family. I remember when my father passed away many years ago. Nothing makes up for that, but somehow you carry on. Now part of your mother lives on in you. That’s a precious memory you’re carrying.

    Wayne

  18. Laeder writes:

    I’m sorry to hear about your mother. She looked very sweet. It’s always hard to lose a loved one and maybe even harder to lose a person that you know will love you unconditionally.

    I lost my father some years ago and I still miss him every now and then.

  19. Lovable Dolls writes:

    We are so sorry to hear of your mother’s illness and passing, Davecat. We send our condolences to you and your family.

  20. Cathy N' Angel writes:

    Hi Davecat i just read this, I have been trying to leave a message via twitter..I’m so sorry about your lovely Mom. My Mom died in 2005 on July 7th of the very same illness…

  21. Barb T. writes:

    Such a lovely lady. Please accept my (necessarily belated) condolences.

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