My mum and I were together almost constantly in the last months of her life. She was setting her own terms in her journey with Pancreatic cancer. I was there to support and smile and help her hit every stop she could on that journey. I’d gone home for a week when mum went to Florida to see her brother. Part of my job was to give her space but be there when she needed me. I gave her a bit too much time I think or maybe it was how quickly she was letting go of life.
Mum was always on the go. At 76 we all had a hard time keeping up with her. As the cancer progressed she was slowing down. She went from a private tennis lesson on one day, followed be playing with a group for mixed doubles while we were at a resort in Arizona to not even wanting to hit balls a week or two later. I know that the folks she played tennis with in Arizona had no idea she was 76 much less that she had stage 4 cancer. She was my mum, indestructible until she wasn’t.
When I got to Uncle Jon’s house mum didn’t let more than 5 minutes go by before she told me I was what made everything work. She also told me that she loved me and Uncle Jon but she didn’t want to be here any more. She understood how hard it was to hear that. It didn’t stop her from saying it. She also said that she wished she could have lived to be a crickety old lady. I’d never heard her say that before. She promised years ago that she would live to 108 and she would still be fiddling, playing tennis, and hitting the dance floor. She could never figure out where the 108 came from, but that was the number and I so wanted some kind of miracle that would give us those years. Our incredible friendship wasn’t supposed to end this quickly.
So instead of watching mum run around doing more than the rest of us we took walks that went from a couple of miles to a couple of blocks. She was trying to figure out where she was going to die. Would she stay in Florida close to her brother or return to California and her house, husband and friends. We web searched for apartments that would be close to her brother and would give us privacy, oh and had room for my cats. I think we both knew that it wouldn’t be that long but we wanted it to be. It was less than a week later that my step-dad was on his way to Florida to take my mum home to CA. I stopped by my home to vote and check in on the girls (my cats) and four days later I heard again you are the one who makes it all work. Ten days later my mum was gone. I didn’t have to make things work anymore. I miss that job. I miss my mum.