Today marks the anniversary of my Mom’s death from metastatic breast cancer, and unlike the previous Death Days, today marks the moment I’ve lived longer without a mother than with one. Ugh.
And yet I’m lucky I had her for 32 years. I’m lucky to have had a mom into my young adulthood, and a really stellar one at that, when much of the world doesn’t get that random life benefit.
Today is the 16th of September and tomorrow will the 17th.
34 years ago on September 17 – and pre-HIPAA – Mom’s doctor (and a family friend) told me on the phone while I was in the kitchen of the manse of my first congregation in rural NY that her cancer had spread. “It’s in her lungs and bones. It’s even spread to her toe bones,” he said.
I asked him if I should quit my job and come home and – of course – he said he couldn’t tell me that. But he did offer this, “I don’t think she’ll be alive a year from now and there’s no way she’ll be alive two years from now.”
He was trying to give me a general time table.
- That afternoon, on September 17, 1986 I met HH on a blind date.
- We were married in 1987 and Mom was there.
- And on September 16, 1988 she died.
So today’s the 16th of September and I remember those last hours with Mom in a morphine coma until she finally stopped breathing while I held her hand and told her she was the Best Mom Ever.
And tomorrow will be the 17th when I’ll remember the first time I saw HH’s face. Terrible things happen and then – if we are very fortunate – healing things happen. And we thank God for that.
The world is literally and figuratively on fire today and yet there is hope for healing. We all need to be healed and God knows that. And I’m so grateful.