May 26 • 11:25 AM

Bittersweet holiday for grieving mother

May 14, 2008
By the time you read this, Mother's Day 2008 will be history. The way things are shaping up in our household as of this moment, it looks like I will get to spend some time with my mom, though plans are evolving by the hour, and certainly not any way we would have planned.

My brother Jim, who has a history of brain tumors, had a 23 hour surgery as recently as January. At that time the team of doctors was hopeful they had successfully removed the tumor. By March, however, it was discovered to be growing again, and rapidly. Because the surgery had been terribly invasive, disabling, and disfiguring, as well as seemingly counter-productive, Jim said, "We're not going to do that again. I'm ready to meet my maker. If he wants to heal me, he can. But it won't be through the doctors this time."

This week we began getting phone calls saying that if we wanted to be able to converse with him, we should be thinking about heading home. He was sleeping more and more as the pressure of the tumor increased. "About every two hours," his son Brent said, "Dad's able to converse for 10 minutes or so before he begins to drift off again. But it's a good 10 minutes."

"He will sleep more and more," the doctors said. "He will probably just sleep into a coma."

"Do they suggest a time frame?" I asked my sister-in-law.

"I asked that. Probably not weeks... probably not a year," she said.

I think back to when she told me that. How many weeks ago was it? Do we go now? Do we ask her to put him on the phone with us during one of those 10-minute clips of time? Do we wait for the reunion in a month? Do we wait, and anticipate a funeral between now and then?

Then came the phone calls, one right after another, saying Mom had fallen and broken her right arm.

Another wrinkle. Do we go and help? Or will she, always the persistent hostess, even at 87, rush around doing things she shouldn't?

As of now, we plan to leave after work tomorrow (Thursday) in hopes of spending a long weekend, recognizing that time with loved ones is indeed very precious. And along the way, we will try to help Mom celebrate Mother's Day, even though I can only imagine how bittersweet it must be for her to celebrate even as she watches a child slip away.

Castle Creek
Milnes Ford
05 - 26 - 19
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