I am now a member of the forum no-one wants to join nor did I ever think I would join until one day over Skype (because I live and work in China...) my Mum told me she has lung cancer. How? Asked I... she has never smoked, never touched alcohol (apart from a glass of advocaat on the occasional Christmas), gets her eight hours of sleep every night and goes to bed early and eats healthily, she has never ever had a filling in her tooth - how did this happen? Nobody knew but she was diagnosed and was told it was 'treatable'.
With that in mind and being pencilled in for chemotherapy immediately, we were were hopeful, more than that - we were positive she would get through it, Mum told me to stay in China and keep my job because she was going to get through this and one day we would go and see China together, she had been all over the world until then but she hadn't seen China yet but that was an ambition of hers as she loved all things Chinese and the culture.
And then one day, she just took a turn for the worse, her kidneys had reacted badly to the chemotherapy and the deteriation had set in quickly, she was unable to breathe in the end and as her condition worsened, she was unable to stay conscious for very long and was only able to speak in short sentences. She was very brave and stoic throughout, I did a lot more crying than she did and she always told me to be happy if and when her time was up, not that was any consolation for me because I wanted my Mum - I needed my Mum! I am 50 years old but we all need our mum even at that age as did my siblings and my Dad but she battled on until she passed away at her home on April the 25th. I got a call from my brother as I was teaching online and when I saw his face, I knew what he was about to tell me... just the day before, Mum was online on Skype and after speaking to her she told me to 'call her tomorrow' as she drifted off to sleep, that was the last time I would ever speak to her.
Because of this COVID-19, I hadn't seen her for three years, the last time I did see her, I took her on a trip to Galicia in Spain to see her old schoolfriends, never in a million years did I think that would be the last time I hugged her.
So, how were we lucky? Doesn't sound like we were but I will explain how we were.
She died peacefully, she actually died of kidney failure, the cancer hadn't got to her other organs or her bones but they would have done in the end and she would have probably died a painful death
We knew when the end was near, we all got to tell each other how much she meant to us and how much we loved her. She left us knowing that we loved her and her leaving was going to hurt and we all now know she loved us very much.
My Dad and brother got her out of the hospital and back home so she could have her last days in her own home, which is what she wanted, I am so happy she passed away in her own home and not in the hospital where she was at, where she was unhappy, she was asking my Dad to take her home and he managed to do that in the end. Her final moments was with my Dad and they both shared a special moment for the last time, she knew it was the last time as did my Dad as Mum started to see my Grandfather (her father) coming to take her home.
She is now at peace, that lung cancer didn't define her no more than it defined any of your relatives or yourself, she has now left it behind as she starts the next part of her journey. We buried her on Monday and I will be coming home to take her ashes home back to her home country in South America, to her hometown that nestles on the Pacific Ocean and I will spread the majority of her ashes into the sea where she used to swim as a child and put the rest in a small urn so she can be with her sister - my Tia Lola, who died of a brain haemorrage as a 15 year old and is buried in the local cementery.
This experience has been a hard and horrible lesson and that life is short and temporary and in another 30 years or so (if I am lucky), more than likely my own life will be over and I will be reunited with my Mum and all my other family members who have passed on or will pass on in the meantime, I am lucky to have had my Mum for 50 years of my life and that lots of people don't even get that - and for that, I am really really sorry, but it still hurts that she went the way she did and that we had to watch her die without being able to do anything about it, but now, she doesn't have lung cancer anymore, nor failing kidneys - now she is free of it all and is now watching over her family.
If you are going through this - I want to send my commiserations, love, respect and hope, it was just our turn I am afraid, it will be somebody elses turn tomorrow, and the week after and the month after until someone finds a cure to this damn disease. I hope soon because it damn well hurts, take care.