My mum died from Pancreatic Cancer on 15 Nov 2015. It took about 6 months. Mum was 76 and could run us all into the ground. She was active till close to the end; but there came a point where she was in to much pain, was tired and was ready to transition to whatever energy format comes next. Mums words. We’re not religious and mum believed strongly in energy. I’m not sure where I am in the spectrum of belief. I know my mum is with her sister, my second mum, my beloved Aunty D. I don’t know how but I do know they are with me someway.
I was laid off while mum was dying. It was a pain and an ending on its own after 23 years. It’s another ending that is still hard but it it did leave me able to spend a lot of time with her. Though I did have to go home occasionally to check in on my girls (two little cats).
One of the things that mum had to do before she couldn’t was visit her brother. She wanted some time with him so I stopped by Boulder while she and my step-dad went on to Orlando. When I got there; almost within minutes she told me that she loved me that she loved her brother but she didn’t want to be here anymore. It was one of the hardest things I had ever heard but I knew her pain. I also knew her views and her heart.
We had talked about this many times over the years. I knew that my mum did not want to be put on any kind of life support. She didn’t really want to live if she couldn’t be active and aware. She always wanted to die with dignity. When mum told me that she didn’t want to be here any longer she also said that she was sad that she wouldn’t be that crickety old woman. In the past she had said that she was going to live till 108 and that image for us both had always been her fiddling, dancing, playing tennis, volunteering. Turns out she would have been ok without some of that if she could just live.
California wasn’t a right to die state then. I think the goddess it is now though it was to late for mum. We also found out to late that NM had that right. We used to live there and my dad’s second wife, a home health care nurse, still lives there. We could have taken mum there if we had known. It would have been such a different ending. I think mum was still “lucky” in her ending. It could have been worse. I know that but my heart still hurts and I still can’t stand the memories of her last days.
It took me a while to have the conversation with her for the final time – the real time. I had to ask. If she had the chance would she have chosen to die on her own terms. The answer was an emphatic yes. She was so angry that we give our pets more dignity than we give ourselves. I feel the same. I don’t understand that. There is so much emphasis put on the beginning and ending of lives. There is a loud faction out there that says a woman shouldn’t have a right to choose what happens with they are pregnant and that same faction says that we should not be able to choose what to do with bodies when our lives are ending. Both ends of that argument are wrong. And those same people don’t seem to care about the in-between or the rights of the person.
My mum had earned the right to dignity. She didn’t have to be so swollen that she looked 7 months pregnant, in so much pain she couldn’t sit still. She didn’t have to be throwing up bile. She didn’t have to be reduced to the indignity of a diaper. She died quickly in those last days but she should have been able to control it. In her time, in her way, through her will.
I love my mum. I miss my mum.