At first, my sister and I did not say a word. My mother had just finished telling us that there was nothing more the doctors could do for her.
After a long period of Ashley and I saying nothing, my mom started talking again. She told us that we would not have to worry about what would happen to us after she died, because my Aunt Mary and Uncle Joey would take really good care of us. She started speaking logistics of when we would move in with them, and what that would look like.
A wave of emotion came over Ashley and I both, as we came to the realization that this was all happening. My mom was not going to beat cancer. She was dying, and we had a front row seat to watching our mom be taken from us forever.
My mom shared with us that in a few days, she would leave KU Med, and get transported to Hospice House of KC. For those of you that have never heard of Hospice House, it is where a loved one is transferred once care shifts from treatment to comfort. They also provide spiritual and emotional support for families through this difficult time.
My sister, brother and I would be moving in with my Aunt and Uncle and their two (almost three) kids. You see, my Aunt Mary was pregnant with a little girl at the time. Even through all of this hardship, at least we had that to look forward to. Luckily, my Aunt and Uncle lived in the next neighborhood over from us, so the transition was not going to be too traumatic for us. We still got to attend the same schools, and live in the same city. It just made the most sense for us at the time.
The transitions began, and we got all moved in to my aunt and Uncle’s house. The house was a 4 bedroom house. All three of the boys shared a room, as they had two sets of bunk beds in Kyle’s room. Putting those three monkeys to bed each night was nothing short of crazy. When you put a 5 year old, and two 3 year old boys in a room together and tell them that they get to have a sleepover with one another every single night, of course they are going to be hyper every night.
Ashley moved into Jake’s (5 year old cousin) old room and I moved into their guest bedroom. Lauren was still not born yet, so it worked for the time being, but we quickly began to realize how cramped it was to have us all living in that house. The emotional transition was quite nice, though, as we were already extremely close to my aunt and uncle as it was, and now Jack had two boys that he got to grow up with that were right around his age.
My mom was enjoying Hospice house, and everyone there was so nice and comforting. The routine still was that right after school, we would drive to Hospice House to visit my mom. While we were there, we would spend a couple of hours with her, just catching up. There was even one time that we got to have a sleepover with my mom. For just a moment, we were able to forget about the awful cancer that was ripping apart our family, and just focus on smiling and laughing again with our mom.
My mom continued to decline. She was in Hospice House of KC for about a month. Then the day came. The day that we all had been dreading. On Friday night, after school, my sister and I were informed that my mom had gone into a comatose state. This was a sign that her organs were beginning to shut down, and that we did not have much time left.
Ashley and I were too sad to go see her that day. We called her on the phone, and said our goodbyes. We had written this letter to her, and read it to her over the phone. In the letter, we told her how much we loved her, and that we knew how much she loved us. We told her that it was okay to let go now, and that we would be okay.
It is still one of the hardest things I have had to do to this day. Losing someone you love is one thing, but having to tell them that it is okay to let go, because you know they are suffering, is a completely different scenario.
The next day, Saturday, April 4th, 2009. My mother took her last breath, and left this earth. We were informed that she was gone that morning. My grandma and a few other people were there when my mom took her last breath. They all said they could feel the presence of Angels, ready to take her to Heaven.
As the news spread that my mother had passed away, our house quickly became flooded with people. There was food being brought over, and hugs were being given out. And of course the “I’m so sorry for your loss” was thrown around.
I will say, it was great to have everyone there to take our mind off of what had just happened. That following school week, my sister and I both stayed home. As the funeral planning began, my sister and I helped out with some of the funeral planning.
The visitation was held at Ascension Catholic Church, and then the funeral followed directly after.
Both Ascension and Aquinas let people out of school to come support our family, and attend the visitation/funeral. Both schools had been extremely supportive throughout the whole process of my mother’s cancer. I remember receiving cards from students in my classes, kind notes from people on social media, and other items. There was even one instance where someone put together a time for everyone to pray the rosary in honor of my mother. They held this in our Aquinas Chapel. My friend, Brogan, informed me that for the rosary, the chapel was completely packed, with not just freshman, but people from all grades.
I could not have asked for a better community of people that stood behind us through all of the tough times. We were truly blessed with how many people showed their love and support for my family.
Both the visitation and funeral were completely packed. We could feel the love in that room, celebrating my mother’s life. After the funeral, we went to the cemetery, My mother was cremated, so she was in a beautiful Red Urn. We had the ceremony, and said our last goodbyes to our mother, then proceeded out.
The last event of the day would take place at my aunt and uncle’s house, to honor the life of my mother. Tons of people rushed in to eat, drink, and enjoy the life of my mother. It was filled with laughter, tears, hugs, and lots of emotion.
As the day came to an end, and I finally had some time to myself to think about the events that had taken place over the course of the week, my emotions started to come out. Tears started, and did not stop that night. This was now the beginning of my forever, and I had to face life without either of the people that brought me into this world.