It felt like Christmas – busy, but a happy busy, you know? I was planning for my daughter’s First Communion this Sunday as well as my husband’s family reunion to be held at our house next Sunday. (Ask me how many of his extended family I have met before. Zero.)
Somewhere between organizing closets, practicing for my pole fitness competition and trolling Pinterest for decorative party ideas, my mother started complaining about the backs of her knees being warm.
She was having a real tough time walking this week, so I thought the knee pain was tied to lack of movement, but I called her oncologist anyway, who said to give her Aleve and schedule an appointment with her regular doctor.
The next morning my mother’s left leg was completely swollen from her hip to her foot. Her calf was the size of my thigh and she was in agony. Her regular doctor sent us straight to the ER where she was diagnosed with a large blood clot. Her last doctor appointment in March she weighed 112 lbs.; now she was 104 lbs.
They gave her morphine and blood thinners and taught me how to give her a shot in her stomach, which I will have to do for the next ten days, and sent us home.
My brother and I are going through a bumpy patch right now, but I put that aside and let him know. He is trying to figure out logistics for when he can come out while I’m watching cancer slowly…quickly…eat away my mother’s body.
The next day was Rylee’s First Communion, a big ceremony in the Catholic church. My mother angrily pulled at her own hair, whitish-gray and barely half an inch long after chemo, and cried because she couldn’t go. I sat on the bed next to her and hugged her, feeling the bones protruding from her back.
She couldn’t go to church, but we could still make memories. “Rylee, come here and tell Grandma about what you’re going to do tomorrow.”
“Hi Grandma. I’m making my First Communion.”
“Oh, that’s wonderful.”
“But I’m afraid I’m going to fall. What if I trip and someone videos it and posts it on YouTube?”
I left the room to let them talk alone, to share their own quiet moment. When I came back they were praying together, saying the Our Father. I showed Rylee a picture of me next to my dad when I made my own First Communion.
“Look how handsome my husband was!” Mom said. Her face lit up and it was like he was there in the room with us.
Everyone aims for the big things: a grand vacation, a traditional ceremony, a poetic speech. But it’s those little quiet moments, that become our most precious memories.
I feel the sands of time slipping through the hourglass and I’m so blessed to catch these simple quiet moments.
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two. Her book, “She’s Losing It!” is available at Amazon.com.
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