picture of death

My mom is dead. She passed away a few months ago from pancreatic cancer, and the reality of it is just now hitting me with full force. When they say that pancreatic cancer kills with brute force in a very short time, believe it. Since she was diagnosed, it took three months to succumb to it. She was lucky; she did not suffer from too much pain which usually accompanies this beast of cancer.

I got a chance to go back to Russia to care for her for a couple of weeks after she got diagnosed. As difficult as this trip was on many levels, I am incredibly grateful that I did it. My mom passed three weeks after my return.

Before I left, I had a very candid talk with my mom at the end of which she only said, “I don’t want to die.” Affected by this disease, she was so frail and shrunk to the size of a child. My heart broke. I did not know what to say. I said, “I know.”

It is very hard to know your parent is going to die. It is even more difficult when you have to be the one comforting them before the inevitable because they are the once that always comforted you. It was their job to make sure you were ok and tell you that scraped knee is not a big deal and to stop crying because there will be ice cream on the horizon but not for the crying children. And now it is your turn. You are a nurse, a priest, and a parent. What do you do with this? How do you deal with this?

I was not there at the time of her passing. She died peacefully at home. My sister was there. I had to Skype in to make sure my sister was OK in dealing with the dead body on the couch. Maybe this is why I am having a delayed reaction. I was not there at the time of the definite.

I can not get her out of my head. Every day, for months now I wake up and go to bed with the image of my mother, and I wait to cry finally, but the tears are still waiting for something, I don’t know what, to be released and I wait with them.


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