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

Please see “Guest Post by J.O.B. – Caregiver Part I” if you need to catch up or need the link to J.O.B.’s blog.

March 1st, 1993

 I came home from school one day in late February. As I walked through the Dining Room, I saw my Father. My Mother was standing next to him, along with Debbie. I was a little befuddled. I asked, “What’s going on?” It seemed like my Father was going to answer when my Mother stepped in front of him. She grabbed me by the face and said, “Honey, I’m not feeling too good. My friends at work are going to help me”.

I thought this was great. Mom worked at the hospital and her friends would know more than I would about helping her. She stood in the Living room holding my face telling me that everything was going to be fine. She even told me to do my homework, which I did. As the next couple of days came, the routine differed. Instead of relieving Debbie at the house, I joined her at 2C. That is the Palos Cancer floor which Mom worked. We would sit there, shooting the bull about whatever. But what I noticed most of all were all the IV’s hooked up to Ma. I would later discover that these IV’s were pumping morphine into her.

Mom was like a living corpse. I would get there, sit next to her, and rub her hand. I would rub her head. I would joke with Debbie, I would joke with Ma. But she would just stare into space. She would stare at me and Debbie. Her Mouth was gaping open, and I can’t even imagine the pain she was in. After being at the hospital for an hour or so, I told Ma, “I have to go home real quick and do some homework”.  Ma just looked at me. she didn’t even have the strength to speak. I told her I would be back in a couple of hours.

I got home and studied. After studying I jumped in the shower. I took a long relaxing shower. So hot that my skin turned red. As I was in the shower, I heard a banging at the door. I jumped out of the shower and got dressed in the matter of a minute or two. It was my Brother-in-law Jeff. As I ran downstairs and saw him, I knew the emergency. “MOM’S DEAD!”, he said. We hugged and I told him to go back to the hospital to be with Debbie. When I arrived in Mom’s room………………. She was still warm. My eyes watered, my pulse raced. And I felt like the biggest piece of shit. To this day, I should have been there when she passed. I should have been holding her head in my hands. I should have been there with her. In the room, she was warm, and there was nothing I could do.

She was gone! She was a beautiful Irish/Scottish women who was diagnosed with cancer. She lost the battle and she lost it badly. But she gave it everything she had. She may have went down, but she went down fighting. Because that’s what she taught us. Do the best you can! You may get your ass kicked! But if you try hard, you never lose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Dana Jane O’Brien




2 Comments on “Guest Post by J.O.B – Caregiver Part VI”

  1. Mrs. AL says:

    You have really helped me better understand the caregiver POV, Job. I thank you for that.

    I guess my only comment is that sometimes things work out for a reason. In the long-run, it might have been better that you were home when your Mom died. It isn’t easy being right there when a parent dies.

  2. CW says:

    I feel like I know your mom now, J.O.B. You’ve given her life again by sharing her story with us. She was a courageous woman who passed too young and it’s clear that it pained her to leave you at such a young age. Obviously though, she gave you the important things you needed to go on and live a good life as well as a happy childhood to look back on.

    A few years ago I met a lovely woman who survived and thrived after being diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. I think of her often, along with all of the other survivors I’ve met, because it’s just nice to know that the story sometimes ends differently.

    Take care, J.O.B., and thanks again for sharing your story. It was very well done.

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