To every one here I would like to say thank you. I don't remember ever being more welcomed anywhere. Wednesday will the the 5th anniversary of my mama's passing. How could it have possibly been that long ago. There are still moments when I hear her voice calling my name, it tells me she is still here with me. I am still angry and guilty beyond measure. You see she was a cancer survivor. She had been dx'ed with bladder cancer in 2001. By the time the surgeon go around to doing the surgery she needed it was the size of a basket ball, and he simply closed her back up and gave her a few months at most. The prayers, positive thinking, chemo, and radiation worked, and by Jan. of 2002 she was cancer free. She was not in remission, it was gone! In July she started feeling a little "off", and we went back to the oncologist. He ran some tests, and found three almost microscopic spots on her liver. We started aggressive treatment immediately. The cancer was more aggressive. It almost seemed that it was feeding on the chemo rather than being damaged by it, within two weeks it had spread to her abdomen. At that point we (she and I) decided that we should just stop treatment. It was a matter of quality of life, and the chemo was making her so sick this time. She was living with me and my husband (he wasn't my husband at the time). On Sept. 13 we decided I needed a little break from the responsibility, and a few of my friends offered to stay with Mama so Dennis and I could have a weekend together. That Friday when we said good-bye she was lucid, and urging us to have a good time. Sunday afternoon when we got back she didn't even know my name. Wednesday, her hospice worker and I made plans to admit her into a nursing home, although I had promised her I would never do that. I had just gotten so tired, and I really had no help, not for the actual physical care she needed. We sat at the kitchen table right in front of her bedroom door and made the plans. That night I could not make myself leave her room, I had never spent the night in there. I couldn't go to sleep. At one point she turned her head and looked at me and called my name. I thought I was imagining things but then she said my name again and told me to come to her. She took my hand in hers and told me how much she loved me and how proud she was of me, over and over again, for about 15 or 20 minutes. At one point early in her first bout with the disease I had told her that she could not die until I gave her permission. When she started drifting away again, I told her that i would be alright, and that if she was ready to go home she had my permission. I don't know how long i stood there holding her hand, but finally I sat in her recliner with a blanket, and i must have dozed off. I don't know how long I slept, but it was the silence that woke me up. The absence of Mama's tortured, labored breathing. I believe she hung on until I fell asleep, so I would not see her leave me. I'm sorry this is so long, but although it hurts beyond measure to write it, I really needed to. Thank you all for being here for me. I love you Mama
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