Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Mommy {this is a long one}

Today would have been my mom’s 51st birthday. It is a day full of mixed emotions. On one hand, I have been crying since this morning, and missing her so much. On the other, I feel proud because of things I am doing in her honor.

Let me tell you a little about my mom, Sharon. Her and her two siblings grew up in a children’s home in Brooklyn because her mom decided she couldn’t take care of them. My mom’s father passed away in his thirties from leukemia. She lived in the home until she was 18, at that point she met my father, got married and had me. She had my two sisters in the next four years. My father was very abusive, and put us through a lot until I kicked him out of the house when I was 19. Yup, I did it. I left college and worked three jobs to help support my mom and sisters. My youngest sister was born severely mentally retarded, my mom could not work because she had to care for her. My sister is almost like a baby to this day, she is 28 years old but has to wear diapers, drink from a bottle, be fed, bathed and dressed. She can’t speak, and has the intelligence of a child. My mom took care of her until the day she was admitted into the hospital last April when she was diagnosed with cancer.

My mom was such a good person, the best one I know. I’m not just saying that because she’s gone, she really was. Despite everything we went through growing up, she showed us love, taught us values and morals, was so strong, made us into the people we are today. For the past few years, she kept saying she wanted a grandchild, and was so excited the day I got my positive test. She went shopping right away! You have no idea how much she spoiled my baby before he was even born, I probably wouldn’t have needed a baby shower because of her, but she threw me one anyway. She adored her grandson, and was so happy when he was born. He has red hair, just like her! The last time she saw him was Easter, shortly after she was admitted to the hospital.

We went through so much from April 29th the day she was diagnosed and admitted, until the day she passed away May 18th. She had a stent put in, went through her first round of chemo with a picc line, caught pneumonia, and was finally released on May 14th. We spent that weekend with her at her home, but she was sleeping almost the whole time. A day later, she went to the ER because she had trouble breathing. While at the ER a few hours later, her heart stopped. We weren’t in the room at the time, she sent us away to eat lunch. When we came back from lunch, she was on life support. We were screaming at the doctors to tell us what happened, but no one helped us until the head doctor came in. He said her heart stopped while he was talking to her, and they revived her, but that he didn’t think she would make it much longer. We were in shock, we were JUST talking to her, and she seemed okay! While in the room with her, her heart stopped twice, and both times they revived her in front of us. To say that was traumatizing is putting it mildly.

They transferred her to the ICU, when we spoke to that head doctor he told us that she was essentially brain dead. He said the only thing keeping her alive was the life support, but that she was not with us. He asked if we wanted them to revive her when her heart stopped again, and my sister & I didn’t want to put her through that if what he was saying was true. We spent the day in the hospital with her and were told to go home and get some sleep.

When we went back to the hospital the next morning, she had awakened from her coma!! After being told she was brain dead, we were shocked! She couldn’t speak because she was on life support, but was able to gesture to us. We found out the all of her organs were failing, and that she wouldn't live much longer. My mom was asked if she wanted to continue with intervention or just be given palliative care. She did not want any further intervention, and knew she would pass away soon. I was able to tell her all I wanted to tell her (as much as I could since I was crying non-stop), she gestured for a hug, and wanted to see a picture of my son. Soon after she slipped out of consciousness again.

My sister and I spent the whole night at her bedside, and I held her hand the whole time. She passed away the next morning.

I know this was a long post, but it was cathartic for me to write it. I am trying to do the best I can to honor her, and make her proud. We are doing the pancreatic cancer research walk, and have already raised $800! I am getting healthy because I want to do whatever I can to live a long life to be with my son as long as I can. I even bought the 30 Day Shred workout DVD because she loved it and would do it. She was always working on being healthy, and I want to emulate her.

One thing I learned is that life is way too short, and we need to make the most of it while we are here. Tell our loved ones how much we love them. Take time out to have vacations and make memories with our families. Live our lives the best way possible so that when we go there are no regrets.

Here is my beautiful mom and me as a baby….{sorry for the cropping, my aunt sent it to me like this today}


  1. Your post has me in tears. What a sad, yet beautiful story.

    It's devestating to see your mom be so sick.

    You are doing many wonderful things in her honor and for that you should be proud. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I'm so sorry you lost your mother when she (and you)was so young. Cancer is a terrible b*tch.

  3. Beautiful picture, just beautiful! I am so sorry that you lost your mother way too soon. But I am glad to hear that you are taking care of yourself and getting healthy for yourself, your beautiful baby, and in your mother's memory as well. :-)