Sunday, August 15, 2010


It's two am and I can't sleep. Took us 2 days to get down to Florida but we had fun and stayed at a nasty hotel in Myrtle Beach but got to laugh at it - so that was good.

We got down to Florida to find MIL looking great, feeling great but being told that what she has an inoperable, aggressive, nasty cancer and they can try to help control it but there is no cure.

She's stoic.

I'm perplexed.

How does this all come about? How are you told that there is Nothing That They Can Do? Why didn't we know that she had this before it got so bad?

I want to place blame somewhere and there is no where to put that blame. No one screwed up. No one missed reading a test. This just happened.

I'm so used to medicine that works - mechanical solutions that fix-it. Will to live, and will to survive. Push yourself and make it better. To have the Doctors say "we can do little" is unheard of in my family.

To be fair, they aren't really saying that they can't do anything but it is clear that all they can do is help (hopefully) control a growth of an aggressive cancer. Maybe for 6 months, maybe for a year, maybe more.

So we are left simply scratching our heads. We will evaluate all the options, be aggressive enough to be hopeful, yet not so crazy as to make this life a living hell for an 85 year old.

I feel bad for my husband. He lost his dad early on, his sister 5 years ago and now his mother is facing this. Soon there will be no one who remembers him as a little boy in his PJ's. No one who remembers dropping him off at Vic Tanny's for a day of bowling. That last little thread to his nuclear family will be snapping.

And I feel bad for me! I met my future MIL when I was 18 and she was the mom of my college roommate. She's never taught me how to cook anything, or any crafty thing, but she's taught me alot about patience and loving and letting go. She's been thru alot in her life, but she's pretty much always happy, and certainly always ready to have a good time.

I hope and pray that we have some more good times. This past year has been tough for us all, I thought we were coming out of the woods only to find another deeper darker forest in front of us.

But I guess I'll look for a path in those woods...


Snowbrush said...

I'm so sorry, Mim, but she has certainly had a long life and seems to be handling her situation well.

soulbrush said...

there is so little I can say to help you, my heart weeps for you and specially for T. now you will be the one to remind him of those times when he was young, and to help him with them. life is hard and often we don't get to die in a dignified manner. I am sending you lots of hope and peace and acceptance all wrapped up in this one little comment.

sukipoet said...

There is no logic nor humanly devised fairness to what happens to us in life for life is an organic situation and not one that bows to man's desires and straight line plans. alas.

My heart wept when you said there would be no one in your Dh's life to remember him as a baby. He is, as soulbrush says, very lucky to have you to help him and be by his side.

Your MIL, I agree, sounds brave in the face of this conundrum. and yes, she has had a long life, and is surrounded by loving people. I send prayers and love and light. Namaste, Suki

Robin said...

Mim, what can I possibly say to add to the eloquent and wise comments left before mine? I have lost both parents many years I know full well the many memories that one feels will vanish when the remaining parent is gone....BUT....YOU remember them and perhaps now is the time to start telling your children those stories to keep DH's (and your own) history going.

It seems glib to say "take it a day at a time"....but really, that is all you can do. Your MIL seems to be in a good place mentally - and I am saying prayers she stays in that mode....and that you and DH can make wise decisions for ALL of you regarding her furure care.

I am far away geographically....but I am right here for you - always.

Sending you many, many prayers....and much love,

♥ Robin ♥

Katiejane said...

Doesn't it seem like there's always something around every bend in the road? Just when you think you've overcome one obsticle, here comes another. I feel sad for you and your husband. Getting older is simply full of potholes in the road. I wish you many more happy times together.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I am sorry to hear this Mim. Life can be so unfair and brutal. Try to keep your head above water. Watch for that light in the forest.

Lynn said...

How can one be stoic about looking at the end of ones life? My mom went out kicking and screaming literally in the ER when told she was dying. She yelled "I do not want to die!" Not very dignified I guess, but I dare say I will feel and act the same. For her it came on suddenly and she had 20 mintues to give it her all in defiance! She was 82. I think a lot about death and dying as each birthday seems to push me further in that direction meaning I know full well I have fewer years to live than I have already been alive on this planet. I guess I just love life so much I cannot imagine not going on and on. So my heart goes out to your MIL. It has to be hard as hell to get that proclamation that the end is now in sight. Now she knows from what she will die.
For me it's like a big shoe "up there" waiting to drop...without knowing what, when or where.
So my heart goes out to you too, and to her son and family. This is hard stuff. I can only send my hugs and love and wish it wasn't so. I am kicking and screaming for her!
I pray she can be kept pain free and will have some happy times between now and then.

Debra Kay said...

Mim-death really isn't so bad-it's the part leading up to it that sucks. You are brave and you will walk this path with your husband and your MIL until she must go on alone. Walking the path with her-not looking away-that will be your final gift to her.

It is not an easy gift to give-but you will give it with all the love and courage I know you possess. And she will be oh so grateful.

Much love for you my friend.

Baino said...

There is nothing to say Mim. Sadly it comes to us all and a huge reminder of our own mortality. I feel for you as I'm an orphan myself although my inlaws are alive and well and also in their 80's. Sending you a bright light to shine on that path. It's not going to be easy but it will be better if you can hold someone's hand along the way.

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

They say that Getting old isnt for sissys and its so true. My heart goes out to you all for all the decisions you will have to be making now. Not much more I can say that everyone else hasnt said already. We are here for you.

kj said...

mim, i am so sorry. there is another side past shock and grief. you and t and your mil will find it. time will help you.

and nothing is certain. i'm wrong: this is certain: you will pull together as a family, as renee says, together stong.

i wish i could put my arms around you right now. i will soon, mim.

damn damn. take care of yourself. i know you will take care of t and your mil.


Anonymous said...

as everyone says the shock of realising the implications is what hits us first and so hard. I hear all of your concerns and know exactly how you feel.
Have you thought about getting out the video camera and recording some of your husbands childhood stories as told and remembered by your MIL, it would be a lovely gift for her to give to him via you.
Just a thought.
Sending you love.

Robin said...

Mim, I am back.... I thought about you, your DH and MIL a lot over the weekend... especially as it was your birthday... this is a dark time for you all.... and believe me, I understand dark times.... there REALLY is a path through the woods back into sunlight..... it is hard to find....BUT, although we are new friends, I have NO DOUBT you WILL find it....I have confidence in your strength.....


♥ Robin ♥

Mim said...

All I can say is thank you to you all - good friends.

thank you

Lynn said...

just came back to see how you are doing...not that I can tell really, but wanted to just BE HERE for you again. And send some hugs.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

those words...'I have fewer years to live than I have already been alive on this planet' are in my thoughts a lot these days too. One never knows what is behind the next bend...sometimes it is daunting to carry on. I can only hope for bright days surrounded by love for however long you all have together...

PAK ART said...

My heart is feeling your pain. It comes to us all, some sooner than others. At 85 she may not want heroic measures that cause her to feel miserable in the last days of her life. You are a strong person - I've seen it through Miss Em - maybe Miss Em needs to explore this path and see where it leads.