what do you say in times like these?

My mom just called to give me a family update. My aunt went to the hospital Sunday with some pain, and they thought it was a heart attack. Instead, they found pancreatic cancer. She underwent surgery last night, but they were unable to remove the tumor because it had attached itself to some blood vessels. And it’s malignant. The doctor rerouted some nerves and other things to make her more comfortable. She may have a year, but it’s probably less than that.

I don’t want to face this. I know it happens. And she’s in her 80s and says she’s ready. But it confronts me with my own parents’ mortality, and that’s the part that really terrifies me. No one wants to think about losing their parents. I don’t. I haven’t had them for nearly enough time. I haven’t known them as an adult and as a parent long enough. I have so much to learn from them.

And if my aunt goes, she’ll be the 2nd of 9. My uncle passed away about ten years ago, so we’ve had the rest of the siblings with us for quite a while. So it’s almost like losing the first one all over again. I have so many conflicting emotions running through me right now. But most of it is just sadness. I don’t know if I’ll get to see her again. And I could have seen her last month, but I didn’t take the time. I should have, because you just never know.

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4 Responses
  1. Arleigh (1 comments.) says:

    I’m sorry your aunt and family have to go through such a painful experience. The only thing you can do is concentrate on the time she has left, making her as comfortable as possible and showing her you care. Death is never easy and it always reminds one of his or her own morality (or that of loved ones close in age). I know how you feel when you say you don’t want to lose your parents. My mom is my best friend and I hope she is around for many more years.

    Arleigh’s last blog post..digital photo processing

  2. becky says:

    Arleigh, my mom is also my best friend. I don’t know what I’d do without her. Thanks for your kind words.

  3. Kristen (1 comments.) says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about that. My husband lost his father this year, very unexpectedly, at the age of 62, and is it still difficult to deal with that, but it makes us think about his mother’s and my parents’ mortality, and it’s hard. And I don’t know what there is to say — you just go on and do what you do and enjoy what you can, and cry when you need to even though nothing seems to have brought it on.

    The one good thing that came out of all of this was having some serious Grown Up discussions with my folks about what will happen when one or both of them passes. I now know where all their papers are, what insurance policies they have, and what their wishes are, so hopefully, when it happens (in 30 years), I won’t have to do a lot of thinking.

  4. becky says:

    Kristen, thank you. I need to have those discussions with my parents, too. Although they have been doing some planning, I have to ask what it is they’ve done, just so I’ll know.

    Getting older sucks, because everyone around you gets older, too.