July 27, 2019 - Heartbreak
This was not a post that I expected to be writing today. The focus of this blog has been on me and my family as we navigate the unexpected twists and turns of breast cancer. Today, we received a new turn.
Today, my mother, Margaret Virginia Harden, passed away. She died peacefully at the wonderful age of 90 years old.
It is very hard to write this as the tears are flowing.
I am very thankful that I spent that last few weeks with her. Even though her health has been in decline, she was very adamant that she wanted to come to Atlanta and "take care of me". We knew that she would be of little physical help, but the important thing is that she wanted to be here. We weren't sure if her health would even allow the trip.
The few weeks before the surgery, her health seemed to have improved. She was back to her old self, albeit with a walker and the help of oxygen. So, Rick and Jackie brought her to Atlanta.
When we decided to rent this house in Atlanta, we knew the house was larger than we needed, but it was important to me that there was enough room for my family. There was no master plan on how long they would stay or who would visit. As it turned out, it was a wonderful 17 days of family time. The house provided a perfect setting for all of us to be together one last time.
My niece, Corey, even came down for a few days with her girls to visit. Even though we didn't realize it, renting this house afforded an opportunity for her and her girls to see all of us, but more importantly to see Grandma one last time.
The first week that she was here in Atlanta, she was managing fine. She was eating well and drinking her fluids. She even had a margarita the night before my surgery 😂. She loved drinking a margarita! After my release from the hospital, she remained steady for a few days, but then we noticed the beginning of her decline. We tried to get her to drink her fluids and eat, but she was very stubborn! She claimed not being hungry, and it was a heroic act to get her to drink any substantial water.
I am thankful that my family stayed through my oncologist appointment last Wednesday, but we knew that Mom needed to go back to Savannah. Rick, Jackie, and Mom pulled out Thursday AM heading home. She seemed to perk up a bit when they arrived back at Rick and Jackie's house. It didn't take her long to start barking orders again. We really thought she would bounce back.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. By Friday, she needed to go to the hospital for care. I believe she was ready.
They admitted Mom into the hospital and Rick and Jackie stayed with her through the night. The doctors were very patient and kind. They also verified that Mom's poor body was shutting down. Rick called Jamie and I first thing this morning to let us know that she was sleeping peacefully and that the odds of her regaining consciousness were slim.
It was a difficult morning - waiting to hear the news that your Mother has died.
Through tears, Jackie asked if I wanted to say anything to my Mother. She held the phone to her ears as I told her that "I love her" one last time. It was hard to get those words out, but I knew she needed to hear my voice. Rick told me that her heart rate spiked when she heard my voice. She left this earth minutes later.
As a mother, the hardest thing that I had to do was to tell Mason that his beloved Grandma was in Heaven. As a 9-year old, he has not suffered much loss. It broke his heart. He truly loves his Grandma. It is very hard to bear the tears of your child as you see them suffering.
I am so thankful that Rick and Jackie were there with Mom as she exited this earthly life. It breaks my heart that I could not be there with her in the end. I am thankful to Jackie’s wonderful sisters, Millie and Tammy. They along with their husbands, Garry and Chip, were at my Mom’s bedside at the end. Not only did they love my mom, but I know they were a huge source of comfort to Rick and Jackie.
I am very grateful that I did have the last 17 days with her. Those are days that I would not have had without this crazy Breast Cancer diagnosis - it is very ironic.
To my friends and family who are supporting and following our journey, thank you for all of your kind words, outreach, and love. I'm sure I'll get back to the "Cancer updates", but for now it's all about Miss Margaret. I love you Mom!