Facing Mortality

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It happened many years ago. We had just learned  I was pregnant with our second son when I got a call from my mother, with the words no daughter wants to hear: It’s cancer. My mother had cancer of the colon.  She

had had a sigmoidoscopy instead of a colonoscopy. The lesion was fairly high up in the colon, and the procedure had missed it. Hthen-doctor, not the brilliant diagnostician his dead partner, my mother’s former doctor, had been, had been slow to put together the symptoms. By the time he did, the cancer had spread to the liver. It was October, and by June she was dead.

At about the same time, I was offered some freelance work that would have brought in a significant amount of money, money we could have used. But I had a full-time job, a small son, a pregnancy, and a sick mother. I turned the work down, instead passing on the name of a friend — he later joked that I’d payed for the addition on his house. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Instead of spending my weekends working, I spent them traveling back and forth from Boston to New York.

Here is a poem inspired by this experience:

 

Mother’s Day, Margaret Fieland

He died
the white-haired doctor
with smiling eyes,

leaving you
to the quick-voiced young one,
who called your cramps indigestion.

Your hair became
sparse as grass during a dry August,

your walk
creaky as the old pasture gate,

your frame as thin
and brittle as the bare branches
of the old oak.

until finally
you lay in bed, smelling
of old guts, too weak
to lift your head.

We named
the baby
after you

You cam find it and other poems in the collection Lifelines.

Heidi M. http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com/
Skye Taylor  http://www.skye-writer.com/
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Rachael Kosnski http://the-doodling-booktease.tumblr.com/
Margaret Fieland http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
Geeta Kakade http://geetakakade.blogspot.com/
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.webs.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Rita Karnopp  NEED URL
Ginger Simpson http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/

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4 thoughts on “Facing Mortality

  1. Fiona McGier

    There is no good way to lose a parent. Nor are you even too old to feel abandoned when you become an orphan. Hugs to you. I, too, watched my parent, in my case my dad, as colon cancer stole away even his ability to walk, from a cancer-affiliated stroke. And Mom had dementia. Neither were pleasant to witness, but as their children, it’s what we must do, to repay them for their care in our early lives.

    No one wants to be a part of the “club” of people who’ve lost a parent. But know you have company, and that others care.

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  2. Robin

    When something like that happens it is so scary because there is nothing you can do but wait for the inevitable even though we are all headed towards the inevitable. Like Fiona said, losing a parent is never easy.

    Like

    Reply
  3. Beverley Bateman

    That’s definitely a scary day. I can’t think of anything scarier than losing a parent. I’m glad you got to spend time with her. I loved the poem

    Like

    Reply

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