How do I manage this grief?
I know it has been a while since I have posted anything personal. I have decided to finally share how life has been going for the past few months. Some of you may know that I am a college student, I am a Communications major at Harrisburg Area Community College. I love HACC, the atmosphere, and professors are amazing. I will be graduating in the Fall, finally! Anyway, our Spring semester began January 17th this year, and this was one rough semester for me. I got a call from my father on January 13th letting me know that my mother’s liver had failed. She was diagnosed with stage 4 gallbladder cancer in October 2015. The chemo was working wonders, and things were looking up. However, the initial doctors never informed her that the stent in her gallbladder would need to be replace every few months. So in I think March of 2016 she was put into the hospital because her stent backed up. They were able to go in and replace it, but the damage was done. The stent backup caused the cancer to go haywire, even though the chemo she was on worked, initially. After a few weeks the doctors realized that the chemo stopped working, they tried new ones, after new one, but none would help my mom.
In June she had her stent replaced (they remembered this time), and I was able to go down to Florida to spend time with my family. I am so happy I took the time to go visit. My mom was referred to a cancer research hospital in central Florida, so they moved and bought a new home. She was put on a trial for a new cancer drug in November. We were all hoping for some sort of miracle. In the back of my mind I kept thinking about her stent because she hadn’t mentioned it being replaced since June. Turns out, the information was either never passed to the new hospital, or the doctors just weren’t doing their job right. So the holidays come and go I live in PA, and with such a short Christmas break, I couldn’t make it down to visit my parents in FL. That’s alright, I was planning a trip during Spring Break or Summer anyways.
Well as I said early, the visit plans changed. I got the call from my dad on January 13th, the stent in my moms Gallbladder had moved into her liver, and had been poisoning her liver, for who knows how long. Her liver had finally had enough and it failed. I flew down on 15th to visit my mom and dad, knowing that my mom only had a short time left. I can’t really describe how I felt, seeing my mom in the hospital bed, orange tint to her skin, looking like death. She was awake for a short time, so I was able to say hi, hug her, and tell her I loved her. She was able to see her granddaughter one last time. My mom decided that she had had enough of the hospital (She always said she never wanted to die in a hospital). She checked herself out and went home to be with her dog “princess” and my dad, under hospice care. The hospice ladies were so so nice.
My Aunt (mom’s sister), my younger sister and her husband and kids, visited as well, and we hung out with our dad during the day. Sometimes I could hear my mom in her bedroom, moaning in pain, it broke my heart. The hospice ladies ended up putting her on a higher morphine dose, to make the pain easier. They said if her body is fighting pain, it would take longer for her to pass. Eventually her body was able to relax, and they let us know that she would pass on soon. Then on January 20th around 7:30 a.m. my mother died at the young age of 55. Having to tell my daughter that Grammy is gone, and then seeing my dad heartbroken, was so hard. My dad and aunt went to the place that my mom was taken (she was cremated), and did all the paperwork while the rest of us tried to wrap our head around what had happened, it happened so fast. At least now, she is no longer suffering.
By this time, I had missed my first week of the spring semester at HACC, and since my mom’s memorial wasn’t going to be held until June, I knew I need to get back to PA. We flew home Sunday the 22nd, and we all had to go on with what needed to be done her. My daughter had to make up school work. I had a week’s worth of college work to make up, Ray had to get back to actual work. I try now to talk to my dad as often as possible, without bugging him. He has had a rough time with this, setting up the memorial, doing the paperwork, all the stuff that goes with this. He retired when they moved to central FL, so he didn’t have a job. He lived to take care of my mom, and now she is gone. He started going to a bereavement group a month ago, and I think I should find a local one here, now that my classes are over, I can’t keep my mind busy with schoolwork, projects, est… It was easy to hold in all the feeling I had since I was so busy catching up with class work, Statistics is hard! But what do I do now? My moms memorial is in a few short weeks, my dad asked if I wanted to say anything at it, but I don’t think I will be able to. I did pass all my classes, 3 A’s and a B.
So this is why I have been absent for the past few months. School, my mom dying, grief. It’s been a rough few months in my family, but I hope to get back at regularly writing soon. Right now I am trying to figure out, How do I manage this grief?