This morning I was thinking about two different friends of mine, both facing losing their moms to cancer. At least they get this holiday season with their moms, and they know it's the last one, is the direction my thoughts went, and I started composing some sort of holiday blog post in the back of my mind.
And when I got home from driving and musing, and logged onto Facebook, I saw to my dismay that one friend's mom had succumbed to her cancer only 2 weeks after her diagnosis. Last year was their last holiday together and they didn't know it. Her mom was healthy and fine in mid-November (or thought she was).
You don't know when it will be the last time. The last time you see someone, talk to them, celebrate a holiday, hoist a pint, laugh or cry or cringe at a movie together. It is worse when a healthy person gets taken in an accident of course, as there is no warning, but as my friend just found out to her sorrow, a mom can be fine on Thanksgiving and dead of cancer by Christmas.
When my dad got diagnosed, the doctors estimated, based on his age and how far his Alzheimer's had progressed, that he would live approximately 11 years. How GOOD those years might have been, they didn't say. Just that he should have made it to about 75 years old. So at that last Christmas, the one we didn't know was the last, in 2006, we thought we had 8 or 9 more years, when in truth it was less than a year.
Ironically, every year my mom thinks it's her mother's last Christmas (she's 93 now) and every year Grandma keeps going like the Energizer bunny. We're almost numb to thinking about her not being here anymore, to the point that when it does happen, we're going to be in total shock.
I guess we all know somewhere deep inside that anyone and anything can be taken from us without warning. And maybe we should live like that, never going away mad or holding a grudge. Always kissing our loved ones goodbye and telling them they are loved. But we don't. We get angry. We slam doors. We leave without saying goodbye. Everyone would like to think they are immortal and so are all their loved ones.
I can't offer a solution. I'm not a god or a doctor, just a person who has lost so much, who grieves to see her friends in similar sorrow.
Love who you have while you have them, and remember them fondly every day after that.
Living with Bob and"Al"
11 hours ago