Mom is suspicious

My mom died today.

I made my mom put those antlers onAs it so often is with parents, it was both surprising and expected. She was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer 9 months ago, and we all knew what the end result would be. We just didn’t know we’d only have 9 months.

Cancer isn’t kind, and it really did a number on my mom. Her first round of chemo was easy (as easy as chemo ever is) and we were all hopeful that, against all odds, she would be able to treat her cancer like a chronic illness and live for a few years.

The chemo got rougher. She got very dizzy, and fell. Twice. The first time she walked away with a couple of staples in her head (she wasn’t too enamored with the nurse who removed the staples, but that’s another story).

The second time she fractured her pelvis (and was certain she had only pulled a muscle in her leg, so I had to sleep over at her place that night and lift her up when she needed to use the bathroom. In the morning, when she still couldn’t stand, I made her go to the emergency room. Have I mentioned my mother was stubborn? Good thing I’m not!) and had to spend several weeks in the hospital and then a could more in physical rehab.

Oh, and while she was in rehab she had another round of chemo. Fun!


She did amazingly well, and after all that rehab she was able to walk, though I would have preferred her to use her walker a little more often. Off we went to visit family on Long Island for Thanksgiving. Surely, she could just enjoy this short trip and spend time with her family, right?

Turns out, not only did she have cancer but she had reduced blood flow to her bowels for some reason and needed a risky emergency surgery.

That surgery left her in 2 different hospitals for months, followed by another month in rehab.

Once again, she did a great job and was up and moving (though using the walker this time around).

Throughout all of this she was getting frailer, though in my mind she was still the big in your face person she was during my childhood (and adulthood). It was always shocking when nurses or doctors would say, “Your mother is so sweet!” I love my mom, but I would have never called her sweet (though she was very sweet to the nurses and doctors!).

As my mental image of my mother and reality drifted further apart it dawned on me that she didn’t have that long to live.

When we found out that her cancer was at the point at which the treating it would do more harm than good she was adamant about one thing: she didn’t want to stay in a hospital or go to a nursing home.

Just last week she opted to do hospice at home, and I do believe that was the right choice for her. She didn’t have much energy but she did have her privacy and wasn’t kept up by all that “fucking beeping,” as she would say, from the medical equipment.

Yesterday, she was very weak and couldn’t even stand up. I knew it was serious when she didn’t resist the idea of going into the inpatient hospice unit.

We got a call at 9am this morning that she was unresponsive. We headed over to see her, and found that she had died moments before we arrived.

I’m sad, but glad that she doesn’t have to keep on suffering through all that cancer brought.

Also, I’m glad she isn’t around to yell at me for posting this. She’d totally not approve of this, especially the pictures. Sorry, mom!

20 responses to “Mom”

  1. Scott, We are so sorry. All I can say is that I wish you peace. Take care and know that we are are thinking of you.
    Reed and Heather

  2. I’m so sorry. Peace to you and all your family. You know it’s coming, but it’s still hard. Sad& a relief, and the sad again.

  3. Scott – you don’t know me, but I’m an Incomparable listener who’s always appreciated your contributions. So sorry to hear about your mom’s death. May you find comfort in sharing her memory with family and friends who cared for her, and care for you.

  4. Scott,
    When my wife broke her leg last winter it led me discover the incomparable and eventually TPK and Random Trek. You and the incomparable gang got me through a tough 6 months. I wish I could some how return the joy and humor that you’ve given while your grieving.

  5. I’m so sorry to hear this. What a lovely write up of your mother’s strength through it all. Amazing. Your love for her is so clear. I’m sorry for your loss.

  6. Scott, I’m so terribly sorry to hear this news. That first photo of your mom captures her so well–what a sense of humor. Please accept my heartfelt condolences; Eric and I will be thinking of you in the time to come.

  7. Scott, we send much love, many hugs as well as our deepest sympathy. We are so glad that we got to know you mother a little bit when she moved here and came to family events.

  8. Oh Scott, I am so very sorry. I’m glad that you and Marisa were able to spend time with her in these last 9 months. I wish I could be there to give you and Marisa each a big hug and help you through this. Please know my love and prayers are with you both and with the rest of your family.
    Much love,
    Debbie (aka your Garfield cousin-in-law)

  9. Scott- I’m friends with Marisa and we met when I was in Philadelphia last year. I’m really sorry for your loss. When my Dad died, his death came unexpectedly and it changed a lot for me. We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.

  10. Scott, I am so, so sorry for your loss no words can really comfort you. Your mom was lucky to have such a good and talented son, hopefully her memory and spirit will reach out to you and get you through it . I will keep you in my prayers. I met your mom I think once or twice, but she probably would not have remembered me. Once at her wedding shower.
    I knew your dad we were pals from the old neighborhood. I stumbled on to your tribute to him on the net and really was beside myself wondering if that was my old friend. I have wanted to be fb friends but did not send you a request because my page is not updated
    soon it will be. thank you for sharing again you are in my prayers .. Teri

  11. I’m sorry for your loss, Scott. This is a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing a small glimpse of what the last year was like. You and Marisa are in my thoughts.

  12. Scott, I am very sorry for your loss. Albert just told me the news and right before I read this post I said, “Oh no! She was so sweet!” So your mom definitely left a sweet impression on those of us who met her intermittently. 🙂

  13. Scott, We are so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing. Wishing you peace during this difficult time.
    Sheila and Brent

  14. Scott,
    Deepest condolences. I enjoyed your mom on the podcast and her pride and love for you shone through.

  15. Dear Scott Im So sorry. What a rare relationship. You obviously loved each other very much.
    Thank you for giving so much of yourself to us out here on the Internet. We love you and understand if you need to take some time from all of your projects. Hugs.

  16. Scott, so sorry to hear about your Mom. I remember the episode she was on and I remember thinking then what a great person she was and how lucky you were to have her. Thanks for sharing this and my thoughts are with you and your family.

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