A mother’s job is to fix things.
Some things cannot be fixed. That was a difficult reality to wrap my brain around.
As a mother, my job was to protect my child. My job was to help her. My job was to ease her pain. My job was to do what was needed. My job was to love her. And, so I did, all I knew to do.
A mother’s job is to comfort her child.
“Momma, I need to get out of here. This brain tumor is going to kill me in a horrible way. I don’t want to die like this. Please help me.”
“Let’s try to take this one day at a time. I think we need to get more information. I don’t trust this doctor.”
I wanted to crawl in her bed and hold her close to me, smooth her brow with my fingertips and draw circles on her back; simple things that used to soothe her as a child. But she wasn’t a child, I couldn’t crawl into her bed. My mind raced, thinking of how I could calm her, redirect her thinking. pg. 36 of Wild and Precious Life.
A mother’s job is to find the needle in the haystack.
I did the only thing I knew to do. The only thing that might calm her. I turned on my mindfulness CD. I felt my heart loosen and let go. Hot tears rolled down my cheeks.
Gary and I were planning. We were not giving up. There had to be a doctor somewhere in the world that could buy us time.
My child was grasping at me like she was being sucked down in quicksand.
I knew that we had to get another opinion. I was focused on getting better news and a treatment plan that would buy us time. My daughter isn’t going to die. She can’t. I won’t let her die.
A mother’s job is to do the research.
Unfortunately, my research stripped me of my naive belief that the tumor could be removed. The brain and tumor had entwined as one. The information I absorbed, tormented me. A complete resection or surgical removal of a diffuse astrocytoma was impossible because of the insidious penetration of the tumor’s tentacles.
Despite my research, I was still trying to find ways to buy some time and during that time, believed a cure would be found. I hung onto that belief. It gave me an emotional buffer.
What took some time to grasp was the fact that cancer research is a grueling marathon. It takes, approximately, 3 decades from lab discovery to FDA approval. It was not a quick sprint or one “miracle” drug away.
Britt, knew this and had already comprehended that she didn’t have that kind of time and had the strength to stare death squarely in the eyes.
I’m still in awe of her ability to understand the magnitude of her diagnosis. Despite the cancer consuming a huge portion of her brain, as it had grown over a 10 year period, she remained very aware and matter of fact about the situation.
I guess I should have expected nothing less from my intelligent, strong, brave, beautiful Brittany.
A mother’s job is never over. And so, I continue. I will continue to do what I can, where I can, and continue to share Brittany’s words with the world.
Book Club Talking Points:
Part One – Catastrophe
- Foreboding 3 – Click Foreboding to see last weeks discussion topics.
- Bad News 15
- Willful Child 29
- Not on the Same Page 35
*In this section, I described my inability to fully digest the reality of Britt’s diagnosis. It was a very painful process.
1.) Have you ever been the caretaker for a loved one that learned of devastating news? What was it? How did you handle it? Are there things you wish you would have done differently?
2.) Have you ever skipped researching a topic because you feared the reality would only hurt that much more? When was it? Do you wish you had learned more or are you glad you “protected yourself from the truth”?
3.) Are there other comfort measures you can think of for patients that know they are in their final stage of life? What are they?
Please continue to keep me updated on the conversations taking place in your book clubs. It brings me much peace to know that Brittany’s life might continue to open hearts and minds.