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………………………………………………….