December 2, 2009

In memory of you, Mom...

This is my first layout of my mom.  Ever.
She never knew me as a scrapbooker.
I just did it in October.

December 2, 1998.  Eleven years ago today.  My mother lost her battle with ovarian cancer.  Ovarian cancer is considered the "silent killer" because there are few symptoms that cause a woman to get checked out for it.  It does not get discovered with your annual PAP exam.  The onset of ovarian cancer is typically middle-age and it's symptoms are scarily close to menopause.  This is what my mother thought she was suffering from... that time of life when women transition from child-bearing to non-child-bearing.  Instead, after feeling particularly unwell, and after I moved out of my parents' home permanently, she discovered that she had ovarian cancer.  Stage 3-c.  Women in this stage typically live six months or less.

Thanks to Scrapbooking from the Inside Out, I've started
to express some of my inner feelings toward her,
and my dad.

Never let a doctor or a statistic tell you how long you have to live. This is a big lesson I learned from my mom.  She fought repeated battles valiantly for almost 4 years before the cancer won the war.

I wouldn't say that we were super close before she was diagnosed.  I was 24 at the time, just two years out of college, and still fighting to become independent and spread my wings.  We fought a lot.  I was frustrated with her a lot.

After she was diagnosed, I wanted to immediately move home.  She wouldn't let me.  It would be the first time in her life with my father that she and he would be living alone as they both had children from previous marriages when they married and then had me.  I understand she wanted that time, but I felt so helpless.  And I was the farthest away from home than I'd ever been before. 

I read a book, recommended by a friend, called Final Gifts - Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs and Communications of the Dying.  I didn't need to read it when I did, but it was oh-so helpful when my mom neared her end.  I strongly recommend it to anyone, even if you are not near someone you love who is struggling.  It helped me to understand to not waste the time I had with her.  It helped me listen to her statements to me, "between the lines".  I still look back and recognize what she really meant, these many years later, thanks to that book. 

And, because of this book, when she chose to return to the hospital, even though she had expressed a desire to die in her home... that I eventually went up to see her.  Three of the four of my sisters, and my dad, were holding vigil near her bedside.  I could not.  I was "home base'.  But I knew she was holding on... and because of that book, I knew I had to give her my permission to let go.  So I did.  I went up to the hospital, and I talked to her in her morphine induced coma.  And I let her know that I would be okay.  I was a "big girl" now (her words).  She was just a shell of herself that day.  It was hard.  She died the next day.   I didn't feel like a "big girl".  I felt like a small child again, only very, very lost.   I was 28 years old.

Eleven years have passed as of today.

And I still miss her.


  1. Oh, my heart goes out to you. I miss my mom so much, and it's only been five years.

  2. This is a very touching post. My Mom also died 11 years ago - from kidney cancer. I don't think we ever stop missing them.

  3. What a beautiful post...your honesty is so courageous! I applaud you for stepping into it and really getting down to the nitty gritty. Its magnificent! I wish we could all find the courage to be THIS honest and this vulnerable with one another! Your layout is GORGEOUS...

  4. What a special post. Thank you for sharing your heart and your layouts with us.


I love hearing what you have to say. Thank you for sharing yourself with me!


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