>November 10, 2011 was the last day I saw my mother alive and well at home. That was 11 weeks ago. I had stopped by after work, as I frequently did, with some laundry to do before I left for Ireland on Saturday. I let myself in — I had started doing this as she got sicker, since it took her quite a bit of effort to get up and walk to the front door — and I went to poke my head in the computer room to say hi. She grasped at her chest and said I had scared her — I made a mental note to call out as soon as I came in the following day.
I put in a load of laundry and settled down on the couch to chat with her. She went that morning to have several scans and blood work done to determine if the chemo and radiation had made any progress shrinking her tumor. She was very upset because the scan they wanted her to do required her to drink a bunch of liquid, wait two hours, and then get tested. They didn’t tell her this in advance. She was having trouble keeping food and liquids down, and the amount they wanted her to drink was ridiculous. Plus, my dad had only taken a couple hours off from work to do this, and now it looked like he wouldn’t get to work until the early afternoon.
She had a lot of difficulty with the drink and ended up throwing up and not finishing it. They did the scan anyway. She planned on complaining to someone about the scheduling mix up and the lack of information they gave her in advance.
I changed the subject to distract her and calm her down. I had been researching the hotels I was going to stay in in Ireland, and one of them had a link to a sheep farm. For about 75 Euros, you can adopt and name a sheep. My mom loved this idea and I think she was planning on doing it since you can sign up online.
We also talked a bit about Irish food, including blood pudding, and she told me not to eat any bacon over there. Apparently when she went in the 70s, she ate bacon and got violently ill. I kind of ignored this because I figured that a lot had changed in 30 years and the food was probably safe to eat.
My dad came home at some point. I asked them what souvenirs they would like. My mom requested an Irish coin collection. She had an old on that she bought, but she wanted a new Euro version. I wasn’t sure if they made one but I told her I would look for one.
I continued to do laundry. My dad and I sat in the living room and watched the Country Music Awards. It was getting late, so I decided to leave my towels in the dryer and I would pick them up the next day after work.
Had I know that was the last normal day I’d have with her, I would have stayed longer. I would have talked with her more. I would have asked her questions and asked to hear more about her Ireland trips. I would have told her how much I love her and how proud I am of her and how thankful I am for everything she’s given and done for me. I would have given her a hug and a kiss instead of just a quick peck on the cheek, a hurried “I love you, I’ll see you tomorrow” as I rushed out the door to get home.