Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Challenge begins

Four days after my last post in June, my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer. She's in hospital this week undergoing radiation treatment. We've been given a time frame & are working on quality of life for her. She's 67 on Saturday and had to resign as a Kindy teacher (to 2 & 3 yrs old) because of the illness. Her granddaughter is one of her students.

Lucikly the hospital is very close to all of us & family and friends have been amazing. Flowers arrive daily, the visitors book is filled with people saying hello & leaving magazines and saying prayers (something I've taken up again)

So many people have told me their carer stories...looking after a parent, younger brother or friend in palliative care & how they just gave up as much time as possible to spend with them. I ran into an ex colleague on Saturday who looked after her younger brother for 9 months while he suffered from motor neurone disease ( like the book The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) We both shed tears in the street, the freezing cold street halfway between two pubs when she told the story.

Dad called me yesterday, asked if I was sitting down. That coldness runs through you as you wonder what he's been told, has Mum's time been cut short ? No, a friend's wife just died, fell over in the street and had a heart attack. Sue was the same age as Mum, and part of their wonderful circle of friends, the kind you know as a child and had holidays with.

Is it better to have a parent pass quickly or slowly? is this preparation time a gift ? Yes it is. I'm talking to my sister almost daily, I'm seeing the generosity of aunts and cousins, the tears of friends as I tell them & the intelligence and compassion of the staff at St Vincents Hospital.

We're collecting photos of mum, from her work life with kids to her with the grand children. You know how everyone has boxes of photos or files on their computer but they are never put all together ? that's our current project. When people ask us what they can do we ask for photos. We'll put them in a book using a system like Lulu... a special book for her, for us and for anyone who wants to see what she means to children.

Photo: Mum & the three of us.


charakan said...

Sorry to hear about your mom.Good to hear the family is coming around to make her remaining life worthwhile

k said...

I'm so sorry.
I agree, time is good. Gives you time to remember the good times and make life comfy for all of you.