She's spent the last month at home with my dad, but she was no longer getting any treatment for either the cancer she had, or the bacterial infection in her lungs that she has been fighting for several years now. They sent her home with in-home hospice care, which is never a fun word, and couldn't treat her for her ailments because she was just too weak to handle them. The Friday before Christmas was the day they made the decision to stop the treatments. That was the day I went to the hospital thinking it was the last time I'd see her. Luckily it wasn't, but I'd obviously like more time. Much more.
But, the thing is, she was in a lot of pain in the end. She was getting a ton of pain meds and that is not fun for anyone. Now she is pain-free. That is the blessing.
Now, Mary was technically my step-mom, but my dad and her had been married 41 years. I'm 42, so it's not like I know anything different. Basically, it was like I had two moms. I never lived with my dad and Mary, but I'd say she was as close to a biological mother as you could get, without the actual biology.
She taught me a lot of things over the years. She taught how to appreciate antiques (she had a ton of old stuff), she taught me latch-hooking when it was all the craze, she taught me that plants should not die when they are in your possession. I need to work on that last one.
One funny memory. I was maybe 9 or 10 years-old and we were on vacation in Wisconsin. We rented a house, we needed it when all the kids were together, and I was the last one eating breakfast. She asked if I wanted another piece of French toast and I said, "Nah." But I guess she thought I said "yeah" and gave me another one. The problem was I was stuffed and couldn't possible eat another bite. She came back and said I better eat it since I asked for it. I didn't want to say she hear me wrong so I wrapped it in a paper napkin and went into the bedroom and threw it away. Being a smart kid, I didn't just toss it in the trash, I put it under the bag that was in the small can, thus concealing it. Really all I did was have her find it later. At least I assume. She never said anything, but there is no way she didn't find it. So I guess she also taught me to not waste food and that parents are smarter than kids.
My big worry now is my dad. He's going to be alone for the first time ever. Yes, he's been divorced, but I don't think there was a long gap and this is much different. The good thing is he has seven kids and many grandkids to keep him busy. That is our job now, to look out for him and try to fill the whole left by Mary's passing. Keeping him busy will help me, too. At least I hope so, because when I'm not doing anything that's when I remember she is gone. It's going to take a while to get used to that.
Here's a picture of Mary with my brother and I from 1981. I think we were in Florida. Pardon the crappy scan quality.
Okay, I have to try and get some sleep. I'll probably have more to say after this is all over, but this is going to be an exhausting week.