September 6, 2011

Saying goodbye

I haven't talked much about Aunt Em, since this post back in January.  Ultimately, some other extenuating circumstances came into play that provided enough, um, encouragement for Aunt Em's Precious Son to defer his change of station and remain stateside while she entered Round 2 of treatment for metastasized ovarian cancer.

Aunt Em and Uncle Mo have been living with Precious Son and family since March.  Aunt Em made it through the chemo and her hair was just starting to grow back when a follow up scan in early August showed new tumors in the lungs and brain.  Aunt Em's life expectancy is now measured in days and hours, the doctors having done everything they can do to slow the cancer.  All that is left is to keep her comfortable, which she is fighting, wanting to remain awake and alert to spend every minute with family.

Today is likely my last visit with Aunt Em.  Each time Mr Harper and I speak of her, or after we visit, we talk about what we would do in her shoes, what it must feel like to know that the end is near.  I'll linger over the hugs as I see my kids off to school this morning, and hold on to Mr Harper an extra minute before I depart.  Facing one's own mortality is the inevitable result of days like this. 

3 comments:

kerrcarto said...

after attending over 1200 funerals and digging just as many graves, I pondered what I would do in the many different situations that I witnessed. None of them were ever fun to think about. But, one day we all have to.

Sorry to hear about your aunt. But such is life.

CharlieDelta said...

Sorry about your Aunt Em, Harper. I know the shitty feeling. A few years ago my best friend's mom (like a second mom or a cool aunt) passed after fighting breast cancer for 12+ years. She was almost at the mark where if the doctors didn't see any new cancer (I think it's 5 years or something like that) it means that they kicked the cancer's ass. She was something like 3 months from the mark, and they saw that it had spread substantially. It went pretty quick after that moment. She did hospice for less than three weeks and she was gone. Zero pain though. There was only one thing that could make her smile towards the end, and it was having endless friends and family by her side remembering the good times. It really lifted her spirits.

Well now my eyes are swelling up and it's getting hard to see what I'm writing.

Depending on how close you were with Aunt Em, spending time together is good for both of you towards the end. That's my two cents. God speed Harper...

Omnibus Driver said...

I know exactly how this goes, having experienced this with the Princess Mom. Say everything you need to say to her now, and ask all the questions you want answered while you can. When she's ready, tell her it's okay to go, and mean it.

My heart goes out to your entire family, and I will hold you all up in prayer, the way my friends old and new did for me when I walked this same path.

Peace, my friend.