Last(ing) things

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night crying from a nightmare. In my dream, Paul and I were in some sort of clinic. Someone we knew was close by and received good news. They were expecting a child after years of trying. But we received bad news. I dreamed that Paul had cancer too. We were going to watch his mother die, then he was going to die of the same thing. It was all very horrifying. I woke up upset and crying. I reached over and held onto Paul tightly.

Back in October, Paul’s mother Martha came out to Alex’s confirmation. She had been sick for over a year at that time. She had a cough that would not go away which her doctor said was caused by medicine that she was taking. She was always sick with sinus infections or bronchitis. When we saw her in October, she was wheezing, short of breath, and gasping for air. She looked horrible. We told her to go back to the doctor.

In November, the doctor found a tumor in her stomach and lung. They thought that the tumors were the same kind, that they  would be easily treated with a pill. She was going to be okay. Martha already survived breast cancer 15 years ago. 

Then in January, the doctor found out that the tumors were two different unrelated kinds. In February, Martha was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal lung cancer. The cancer filled one lung and was moving into the other. Then last week, she found out that the cancer had moved into her brain.

Martha is now taking a combination of chemo and radiation. Last week Martha lost her long shiny hair. I haven’t seen her yet without hair. That is going to hit us all hard. I am glad that Paul was given some forewarning to take the time to say good bye. I have to forgive her for all of the past hurts. 

Our relationship with Martha has always been volatile, especially in the earlier years. When Paul and I bought our first house, Martha wanted to help me make curtains. We went together and I spent more than I expected to on material. We started the project, but before we could finish Martha got into a big fight with her son and left me with unfinished curtains. My grandma helped me finish the project.

There were countless times that Paul and Martha would fight. Martha screamed at Paul and kicked him out of her house anytime that we had to discipline the kids. She would show up late for holidays. It has been years since we celebrated any holiday with Martha. Sometimes she would cancel out at last minute or not show up at all.

One time Martha and I were going to take the kids to a water park. She was running late to the point where we weren’t going to be able to make the trip worthwhile. This was the only time that I confronted her. She didn’t talk to me for a year.

Martha often called and spoke of gambling trips that she took with friends then complained that she didn’t have money for gas to come see the kids and their events. Our relationship was marked with a lot of anger, hurt, and resentment. She is a difficult person that likes to argue and say hurtful things, and now she is dying.

This week she called Paul and asked him what we were doing for Easter. We have plans with my family. Today is Matt’s 40th birthday. My whole family will be getting together to celebrate Matt’s birthday on Saturday and then Easter on Sunday. We are able to see each other as a group a couple of times a year. I told Paul that we could cancel the Easter plans with my family to see his mother. It most likely will be her last Easter. Paul decided to keep our plans as is. 

I forgive you, Martha! I will try to remember the good times. When you weren’t crabby, you were always so much fun. Your fun loving, upbeat, optimistic attitude is hard to beat. You provide a lot of excitement. There was never a dull moment with you. You are always happy with the littlest things. You are content with what you have. You try to make the most out of situations. You always had good intentions. 

By far the best gift that Martha gave me was her son. She made the right decision when she decided to keep her unwanted pregnancy. For that, I will be forever grateful.  

 

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