Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Mother is Gone

My Mother, Jane Elizabeth Dinsmore, passed on just a few minutes ago.

This has been coming a long time. She's been very seriously ill for some years.

Three weeks ago, while she was hospitalized for a stroke and a seizure (unfortunately not her first stroke, or even her tenth), they discovered that one of her cancers had come out of remission, and metastasized, and there was no possibility of treatment.

She has been in terminal care for the last few weeks. Last week she stopped taking nutrition, so we knew it would only be a few more days.

My Aunt Maureen has been with her the whole time. I can't even imagine how hard this is for her. I can't thank her enough for being there when I couldn't.

I was at least able to say goodbye to my mom over the phone before she lost the ability to understand.

My mother was only 55 years old, and had spent more than half her life fighting cancer.

I first knew about her cancer when I was 7 years old, but by then she'd had it for around 2 years. The first time was breast cancer. The doctors had told her she didn't have long, and that she should get her affairs in order, so she told me she was dying, and that I would live with my grandparents, and I had to take care of my little brother.

She went off all treatment, and wanted to live or die on her own terms. A few weeks later, she went into complete remission, and stayed there for years.

That's how the last 30 years has gone. Every few years, she would get sick, she would go through treatment, it would look bad, then a sudden remission. It must have been... maybe 7 times I think? Honestly I can't remember. She has had breast cancer, skin cancer, throt cancer, lung cancer, spinal cancer, and brain cancer.

After the spinal and brain cancer, the blood vessels in her brain were severely weakened, and she started having aneurysms, strokes, and TIA. That was... about 9 years ago now? We thought she was going to go then. I moved back from Ireland in 2003 to be closer to her then.

But like always, she fought back, and she got better.

Only that time, she didn't really.

Since 2003, she has been ratcheting down. Each time she'd recover, but a little worse than she was. Each time she had a major episode, it looked like she would go, but she would somehow fight out of it... but shed be further down the ladder than she was before.

At one point, she lost a very big chunk of her memory. At another time she went blind for a while, though her vision came back, severely degraded, but back nonetheless. At one time she lost the ability to speak... but she got it back.

Finally after 30 years of fighting her body, tonight it was finally too much.