Guest Post by J.O.B. – Caregiver Part I

I met J.O.B. over at BlogSpot.  He comments here and has agreed to share his experience with his Mom.  I know you will appreciate this caretaker view.  You can read J.O.B’s blog here.


November 1992

It was the first week of November that she had an appointment with the Doctor. She had been complaining about a sore throat for seven weeks. Not too mention the occasional fever. She called in and set up an appointment just after her birthday. On October 31st, this woman turned 55 years of age. She was quite beautiful if I do say so myself. My Oldest Sister (Eldest Sibling) took her to her appointment. Since I was Sixteen, I was obviously at school. I arrived home just after 6:00 due to football practice. I was greeted by quite the entourage as I walked through the back door. It was a sight that I was not quite used to. Not only was my Father there, But so was my Brother along with my eldest Sister and Brother-in-Law. My parents told me that they had to speak with me.

“Honey, my appointment didn’t go well.”, my Mom said. I was very confused and proceeded to ask “What’s wrong?” My Mother looked right at me and said, “Well sweety, I do not have a sore throat. It turns out I have a lump in my throat”. “What do you mean LUMP?” I asked. “Honey, I went for some tests a few weeks ago. Today after a few more tests, it was confirmed that I have Esophageal Cancer.”

If you have never heard that phrase, or something similar before, it takes all the life out of you. When my Mother said that, it was as if all the life inside of me instantly drained. My entire body felt limp. And as my eyes started tearing up, my Father grabbed my arm and pulled me aside. “Listen, you need to be strong! I know this isn’t fair for you at your age. But Your Mother Needs you to be strong. She will do just fine, but you need to stay positive so that she doesn’t worry about you.” I informed my Father that I was fine, and was ready to do whatever it would take. “I know you are Jonathon, you are my big boy and everything will work out just fine.” he explained.

As we sat in the Living Room, I heard words I had never heard before. Such as “Radiation” and “Terminal”. There were a few tears, but we as a typical “O’Brien” clan were not ready to give up without  a fight. We were going to kick Cancer’s Ass. And who better to do it than a Nurse in the local Hospital’s “Cancer” Floor.

My Brother and Father worked overtime with the trucking company because of the Insurance premiums and Deductibles. This left me as the only male member of our family that was at home. Going into State tourneys for Football, our team was doing well. I came home after practice on a Tuesday. Mom was hovering over the Bathroom sink as she vomited. As I pulled her hair back she asked me, “How is the team doing this year? How are you doing this year?” I proceeded to inform her that we were in the quarter finals. And just as I was about to tell her that I had been elected to “All Conference”, she started to violently vomit. As I held her hair, I noticed it came off in my hands. Eventually, she looked up at me with tears in her eyes.

Even at the age of Sixteen, I could see the fear. And no matter what was going on in my life, or in school. I was not about to let this Matriarch go this alone. After vomiting, she looked up at me that night and apologized. As she apologized she held clumps of hair in her hands. I removed the clumps from her grasp and proceeded to tell her that we would not be beat. After I got Mom to settle down, I shaved her head. I will never forget the helplessness she must have felt. I remember hearing whimpering from her as I took away the last bastion of Femininity. I’ll never forget looking at her, with tears in her eyes. She was so sick. She was so Helpless. At that very moment, I realized what it meant to be a Man that was there to comfort.. I helped my Mom shave MY head. And to this day, I refuse to let my hair grow………………………………………………….




15 Comments on “Guest Post by J.O.B. – Caregiver Part I”

  1. There are those who are much older than you, who cannot, and WILL NOT, handle the responsibility that was placed on your shoulders at that young age. I have seen and read about married folks who have left spouses in such straits. And I can only grieve for those who have to go it alone.

    May God always Bless you, J.O.B. I’m proud of you.

    • J.O.B. says:

      Thank you for the well wishes and blessings Grouchy. I too can only grieve for people who have to go through this battle alone. But I try hard not to judge because grief hits everyone in different ways. I watched my Father lose himself in his work. I personally thought he should have been home more. And because of my judgement, I lost 20 years with my Father. But I never took into consideration what it would feel like losing your wife of 37 years. Then again, I was way to young to take anyone else’s feelings into consideration.

  2. thedrpete says:

    Incredibly compelling. Thanks, Mrs. AL for sharing J.O.B. with us.

  3. Mrs. AL says:

    What I have trouble trying to comprehend, J.O.B,, is your age and handling all that. You are indeed a strong person.

    • J.O.B. says:

      Well Mrs. Al, I read your comment ten hours ago and I must say, I’ve been thinking all day about my reply. In the end, I have nothing. The only thing I can think of is upbringing. I wasn’t raised in a religious household, but I feel as if I received a great deal of morals from my parents. And due to this upbringing, I have my character. Maybe being raised in a household with both parents has something to do with character. But then again, I have friends who came from a divorced family, who went through the same pain at a young age and never caved. So I have no answer. It happened and I reacted. I wish I could give an explanation to help other people with character, as I have heard stories that Grouchy mentioned. Where people actually leave loved ones because they can not deal with an illness, or a trauma. In the end, My only answer is that, my Mother needed me, and I was there. Thank you for letting me share my story and know that you and your Husband are always in my prayers.

  4. Gar Swaffar says:

    It’s hard when our Mom’s are in such desperate need. But it also becomes time to Man Up and get it done. And that is what happens when a male of the species is A Man. Well done J.O.B

  5. tannngl says:

    You’re incredible.

  6. CW says:

    Sounds like your mom was a wonderful woman, J.O.B. I can tell by the son she raised.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sure it’s not easy to relive it.

    • J.O.B. says:

      LOLOLOL….Believe it or not CW, It is easier to relive than some might believe. Probably because for every tear I may shed, there is at least 4, or 5 laughs and smiles. She was a wonderful woman, and she did a fabulous job raising this kid, LOLOLOL….
      Thank you so much for the compliment. Yours, as well as everyone else’s, is so much appreciated.

  7. Johne701 says:

    I appreciate, cause I found just what I was looking for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye fddkedacdbaf

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