From time to time, I receive letters and email from readers, asking how it feels to lose a mother. The inquiries are never rude and are mostly from women who are trying to prepare themselves for the loss of an elderly or terminally-ill parent. So, below is a short post, outlining my own personal experience.
I can still remember the day in 1995 when my mom told me she had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor that could blind her; the day in 1996 when the doctors told us that the tumor was growing; the day in 1997 when she underwent biopsy surgery; the six weeks of radiation she received when they found that it was not cancerous; the day in July 1998 when I drove her to Madison, WI and we were told that her tumor was now growing toward the brain stem and surgery would have to be performed; the day in August 1998 when she underwent a 12-hour surgery.
But the most memorable was in June 1999 when her doctors apologized and told us that they’d done all they could do for her. I remember feeling as if a knife had sliced my body in two. It was the most painful news I’d ever been told, and at that very moment, I began wondering how I was ever going to live without her. I wondered why this was happening to MY mother, the person who always went out of her way to do for others; the person who always had the same smile on her face, no matter how sick she was.
But, finally, when we entered onto I-90 West, heading back to Rockford, IL, Mom asked me to play one of her favorite gospel songs and then told me something I will never forget. She said, “Kim, you know how people sometimes say they were so hurt that their heart felt like a hole had been drilled through it?”
“Yes,” I answered.