What an awful experience that must have been. The worst experience I had caring for my mother wasn’t in her final illness. I’ll be writing about that soon. But she did, like your mother, die of cancer. So did my father.

Both my parents were diagnosed too late to make effective treatment possible. Dad died in the hospital. Mom was still in denial that he would die and told me not to come because he looked terrible and she wanted me to wait and come when he was better. He was gone within two weeks. But that’s another story.

I wish I’d been able to see him and get some of that closure you’d talked about. He had had open heart surgery four months before the cancer was discovered, and before that surgery I did visit him with the family and he gave us his blessing. I guess he wanted to make sure we got it in case he died on the table. I was thankful I at least had that.

I did care for my mom in her last weeks. She was 89. I think her family doctor, who would retire before she died, suspected she had cancer but thought she’d be happier not knowing. I complained about her lack of appetite and the doctor just said not to make her eat if she didn’t want to.

We discovered the cancer when she was in the hospital for something else and I mentioned the stomach complaints. They did a scan and told her she had a stomach tumor the size of a grapefruit and it appeared there was also a problem with a lung. They told her she had two months left to live and they were right. Hospice was a great help, but I still was the one responsible for all the caregivers and I took one shift myself.

Mom really never did suffer much pain, thanks to Hospice. She kept her dignity until the last couple of days. In spite of the drugs her mind remained clear and her personality kind. After seeing her experience I am not so afraid of dying of cancer, as I probably will.

Of course, Mom never tried to fight it as your mom did. She simply denied it was happening. She tried to keep to her normal routines until the last two weeks when she finally took to her bed. That’s when she accepted the prognosis and decided to go peacefully, which she did. I’m truly sorry your experience was so much worse than mine. I’m glad you recognized that the drugs and the disease, not your mother, were in control of her behavior during those last months. I hope you are able to remember the good times before she became ill.

Christian, bereaved adoptive mom, blogger, amateur nature photographer, voracious reader. Married 54 years. Central Coast of California. https://barbrad.com

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