When Tragedy Strikes

I’m gonna share a story that hits especially close to home and I have permission to share..

It begins summer of 2013….well actually spring 2013.

I finally finished school and I received my degree YAY!

Next up certification…thats a whole different story. Needless to say I became a certified teacher.

I also discovered I was pregnant. I later miscarried. This was a devastating miscarriage that I struggled to cope with. In the midst of this struggle my mother shared she has breast cancer. I still can’t place into words how I felt.

I do remember thinking I’m not ready to lose my mom yet.

My mother was and still is a fighter. She followed doctors orders to the best of her ability. I moved back in. This I later regretted.

Let me explain why. It wasn’t just me that moved in. It was myself and my child. I didn’t want my child to see granny sick and deteriorate in front of her. I wanted Elise to keep happy memories of her granny. I also wanted my mom to be sick. I didn’t want her to put on brave front for the sake of us. I also didn’t want to be in the house if something happened. Yep I’m a punk. I know my limits in life. I was also tired. I have been the one to ALWAYS be there when my mom was sick or had a surgery. I was tired being the oldest and shouldering these responsiblites. It’s not fun sitting in the waiting room waiting and waiting. ICU sucks. Middle of the night phone calls are the worst. If my mom didn’t feel well I wanted her to not feel well. I didn’t want her glossing over the pain or the illness.

I moved 8 hours away that December to Maryland. I needed space to breathe and I needed the rest of family to help out. There were other reasons for my move. I was mad at the boyfriend who recently decided to move to Germany. I swear this was country number 48 (I’m exaggerating but he was living his life and I wasn’t. I waiting on him to come to the states something that looked like it was NEVER gonna happen… but this post is not about that)

I moved to Maryland and mother was allowed to be sick. My brother stepped in when he could. The rest of the family helped out as well along with her church family. Her spirits were high. The cancer went into remission. She returned to work. I went abroad…. the cancer returned.

My mama’s exact words “go live your life. I’ve already lived mine” I went abroad with no regrets. She went back on chemo and quit her job. A schedule was created to get her back and forth to the doctors. She had people she could call if something happened.

Summer 2017. I’m home for the summer break. Something happened with her left leg. The details of this is still foggy. I remember when she fell and she never fully recovered. Later I would discover something about blood clots that was getting bigger and the blood was not flowing properly. Again the leg issue are a lot of foggy details. Remember I’m abroad and my mother is that woman. Strong. Stubborn. Brave. She keeps things to herself because she wants nobody feeling sorry for her. I would have made arrangements for help to come live in the house but I know she doesn’t want that. She wants her independence and does not want to rely on anyone.

Fall/winter 2017

The situation is getting worse and I’m not being told the whole story from her. I am relying on my brother to give me full story. The cancer has started to spread. Something is going on with her left leg that has caused it swell and provide her a great deal of pain. She is taking pain meds like it’s candy. She’s stage 4.

January 2018,

Hard cold hard facts present itself. The cancer is spreading. She’s in constant pain.

She’s having a hard time coping with things. She wants a second opinion. Doctors are waiting on her to come to terms with her current state of affairs.

Things are being put into place for the inevitable.

I am a ball of emotions. She has no clue at this point that know. She’s sheltered me my whole life. I get it I’m a female. I’m a whole lot more fragile than my brother. I’ve got an entire plane ride ahead of me that I am not looking forward. I have no idea how to explain this to Elise when the time arrives.

You are never ready to lose a parent no more than you are to lose a child.

February 28, 2018

It’s my birthday and my brother is home with our mom because she is in the hospital. Last week she didn’t receive her chemo due to an infection in her leg (the good one). She was in so much pain they admitted her to the hospital.

A conversation was had about Power of Attorney and DNR.

Palliative care was called in. Yep new to me. Basically they are the step before hospice. Hospice will be called in when she’s ready to be done with chemo. The doctors don’t suggest she stops chemo and she’s not ready to stop chemo. Someone will come to the house and check on her.

I legit may not have time to say my goodbyes and will have memories to hold me.

I am torn about trying to get home because it’s not just me. I have to consider Elise seeing Granny sick. It’s not that my mother looks different but she’s not the same either.

There is a possibility that the cancer has spread but they can’t do the scan until week of March 14. (Health insurance issues and getting approval)

The doctor says she has months not years and anything can happen within those months. It will happen quick. Here today gone tomorrow kind of deal.

I don’t know how I feel. I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to see her before she goes.

When my dad died it happened quick. One minute we were making plans for him to come home and the changes in our diets, next there was funeral. I didn’t get chance to prepare. Even now I can’t prepare. There is a 24 hour plane ride ahead of me with and a child I have to keep calm.

This was supposed to a happy birthday and I am sitting here holding back tears and I want to fall apart but who’s gonna hold me?

March 3, 2018

She’s finally not in pain and can go home. Her sisters, church family and friends have setup a round the clock schedule to help her out at the house. She lives alone and needs help to get round the house. The best thing for her is rest. She’s not one to keep still.

I have made the decision not to go home because I can’t put Elise through that. I’m not ready to lose my mom.

March 20 2018

The time has come. Hospice has been called in and I’m looking for flights

March 22, 2018

The shock has worn off. I think I have stopped crying. We fly out Saturday morning and will land Saturday night in Charleston. I will spend the next 3 weeks (at least) with my mom and family.

Life is too short. Work will continue without me. I will pack a good bit of our things.

March 27, 2018

It’s been a whirlwind of emotions. I am home helping out and spending time with my mom while I can. You can never really be prepared. I am happy she is still in good spirits.

People hear hospice and think death is coming today. Not necessarily. She’s still up and moving around. Slowly and painfully but she’s home and still able to do things for herself.

March 31, 2018

My mother passed away. I got to spend a week with her.

I know she is no longer in pain.

There are things you just never can really prepare for and hurts like hell when reality hits.

Next up……

So I’ve finally accepted a job and we will be moving to

and these are the only clues you get.
First thing that came to mind was I’m gonna be 12 (13 hours during daylight savings) hours ahead how is watching football gonna work….how does watching live TV work period….it doesn’t. I won’t be able to watch live and function the following day. Making phone calls will be interesting to say the least. The 8 hour time difference is bad enough.

I will be living in Wuxi (wooshe). Yep had to look up how to pronounce it correctly. Here I just got used to Arabic and I’ve picked up some words now I have to learn a whole new language. I’m excited. I have already connected to two other ladies who will be at the same school and coming with children. EXCITED!!!!! I won’t be the only black face. YAY!!!!

I’ve downloaded Duolingo and Rosetta Stone to help me with learning Mandarin. I’ve even have the urge to brush up my Spanish and re-learn French. I just need some notebooks and index cards. Time to become multilingual.

I hope the excitement doesn’t wear off.

I will be a kindergarten teacher at a bilingual international school that will be an IB school. My resume is shaping up to be pretty darn amazing. They will provide training as well. So I won’t be winging it. LOL.

I gave myself a raise. Elise is covered(tuition, flight, insurance, visa, etc) and will attend school with me. I will still have housing provided. My insurance, visa, and flights provided as well. Elise over the top excited. She gets grass and snow again. She’s making plans of places she wants to visit. I’ve showed her places we can visit.

My mama is finally realizing that I will not return stateside. It will pretty much take an act of God to get me stateside again. I am looking at land in Kenya…yep I was serious about it. I need to actually get serious and start talking to people and making this happen. I even toyed with the idea of property in Ecuador and Belize. I am working on my legacy. Leaving Elise something other than debt.