I did it my way…

A week ago today hospice told us that Momma had entered the transition phase. Her body is preparing for death and her spirit is preparing for its journey Home. Last Rites were administered and the family was called to come and say their goodbyes. And now, we sit and hold her hand. Whisper “I love you’s” in her ear. Kiss her on the forehead. And wait. And remember all the good times. All of them. Because that’s the only way we can do this.

Can I call a time-out on all of this? Surely you know God what control freaks we all are and yet we have no control over Glioblastoma?

I remember when I was pregnant with Haley I began having panic attacks about the whole birthing process. So about two months before my due date I decided that I wasn’t going to give birth and she would just have to stay in my tummy. And that was that. I was in complete denial. Right up until the moment that they sent me in to be induced. But I showed them. After 36 hours of laboring I still wasn’t dilated so an emergency c-section was done. There was no way I was pushing a baby out of me. The McDonald’s have a strong will about them. We like to do things our way. Sometimes it turns out good and other times it backfires on us.

The fear of not having control can be so suffocating. I feel like if I hand over my control I’m also handing over my mom. How can I give up someone who I love so much? How will I be able to go on and raise my kids without her advice? How will we be able to celebrate without her? I don’t know how to do this. I don’t want to do this.

But I know in my heart I’ve got to. Give it up. Let it Go.

Lord, give us the strength and the courage to do the hard.

And that’s what we’ve been working on this past week, letting go and giving Mommy the permission she needs from us to let go too. I’ve never done anything harder in my life until I told my mom yesterday that she didn’t have to fight anymore and assured her that we’d take care of each other. That it was okay for her to grab Jesus’ hand and go with him. We would be okay. And in time we will.

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Everyone’s journey Home is different. The nurses keep telling us what to watch for but as you know we don’t follow the textbook guidelines. And just as she’s done all her life, Momma will do this in her own way – as she should. Can’t you just hear Frank Sinatra singing “My Way” through all of this?

But I also love the way my Daddy looks at it….”Jesus is still preparing her room in His house.” And that makes me smile. Oh, yes He is.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen ~ BCP

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Ok God….here we go….

On August 2, my Mom and best friend was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Our life has been nothing short of a terrifying roller coaster ride since…full of questions, ugly crying, a barrage of tests and so many nights sleeping on a couch in a hospital room than I can or care to remember. It’s also been full of love, laughter, support and even more ugly crying….

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM IV) has become a regular part of our vocabulary. It’s a tumor that is made up of the supportive tissue of the brain. These cells reproduce quickly and are very aggressive. Unlike most glioblastomas, Momma’s tumor encompasses most of her brain on her right side. It’s shaped like a banana, which to a lot of Doctor’s may stun, but to us McDonalds’ it just proves that we are uniquely made….if it’s weird — we have it. If you know us, then you know this to be true. (You’ll also know that we have a dark sense of humor and laughter is what we need and do best. If you are offended by our musings, I cannot apologize. We need them to survive.) Because these tumors come from normal brain cells, it’s easy for them to invade and live within normal brain tissue and dead cells may be seen towards the center of the tumor. So essentially, it eats away at the healthy cells in brain and destroys everything in its path.

Days before her first surgery.

Days before her first surgery.

Her tumor is incurable. She has already undergone a biopsy and a craniotomy, which resulted in a brain hemorrhage that landed her a two-week hospital stay and is now in a rehab facility where she is working on regaining her strength so she may begin radiation and chemo…again…she’s also a breast cancer survivor – two times over!

Mommy, on release day from her brain surgery. I never look this good in the hospital!

Mommy and her favorite nurse Charles, just after her brain surgery.

She’s also a pretty amazing woman with an amazing faith. The kind of faith that I admire.

Because while I’m all ugly crying in the shower so nobody can see me and the water can sort of drown out my sobs – screaming at God “why?”, she’s all like “you need someone to talk to and sort out your feelings. Be honest with my grand-babies and help them work through this. I don’t want them scared.”

But what about you Momma? Aren’t you scared? Aren’t you mad at God for this? Don’t you question Him with why? You are the one who needs someone to talk to!

And she says to me, “why should I be mad at Him? He’s done nothing but be kind to me and blessed me over and over again. I guess I could ask Him why me, but why not me?”

And that is the vision of a woman who knows whose she is and is bathed in His peace. Peace that passes ALL understanding. And wrapped in His love.

So while I should be ministering to my Mommy, who sits in a wheelchair beside her hospital bed, staring off into space…..she is ministering to me.

 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10

Ok God….here we go…..