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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Life Takes Unexpected Turns

By Susan Vaughn

Thanksgiving 2005 - My Mom, Mary Simms at 81 years old

This post was originally written on May 28, 2007

My mother has lived with my husband and I and our 3 young children for almost 10 years now.  The time has passed very quickly.  Unfortunately, I see my mother aging more dramatically than ever in the last 5 years and it is frightening.

In March, 2005, my mother discovered that she had lymphoma.  A simple show of affection on my part by putting my hand on the back of her neck and rubbing her neck did I discover a lump the size of a golf ball.  She said “Oh, it doesn’t hurt, it’s nothing” and my radar immediately went up.  The next day, I had her at the doctors.  They biopsied the lump and discovered that my mother had non-hodgkins lymphoma.  Her entire body has been compromised by this disease, and incredibly, after 2 years, my mother still gives the appearances of being strong. 

She has been receiving treatment - chemo therapy - every 6 months ever since and doesn’t seem to be bothered by it, although she is more fatiqued.  Her mental strength never ceases to amaze me.

Well, about 8 hours ago, my mother fell in her bedroom, tripping over a pair of shoes she had put at the foot of her bed, and her head hit her chest of drawers and her arm and shoulder hit the floor and the side of the bed. Bob and I and the children were at a neighbor’s house swimming and we had given my mother our number to contact us if she needed us. We got home at about 7pm and Mom was resting in her room, and that was nothing out of the ordinary. At 11pm, she came into the family room and I noticed a bloody bandaid on the side of her head. I jumped up from the couch and said “What’s that?!!” She said “Oh, it’s nothing, I just fell in the bedroom and hit my head on the drawers.” I was frantic, not to mention completely disturbed that my mother did not contact us immediately when this happened. She could have been killed! She could have died! She kept saying it was nothing, but I insisted we go take a look at it in the bathroom. When she took off her bandaid I couldn’t believe my eyes. She had a 1 inch gash in her right temple that was as deep as her skull. I nearly passed out and got very upset - obviously. My husband Bob drove her to the hospital emergency room and Thank God he did. They stitched her up on the inside of the wound and the outside. It was pretty deep. They gave her a CAT scan and x-rays of her head and shoulder and there didn’t appear to be any other harm or injury.

I have been in tears for hours. I depend on my mother so much. I hate myself for that. I appreciate her being here with us and the thought of losing her hit me hard tonight. I can’t bear the thought of losing her. I lost my father in 1980. He was 54 and I was 21 and 5 months pregnant with my daughter, Kimberly. Losing a parent is very traumatic.

I have to say, I hope my mother lives forever. In other words, I hope she lives through my forever. I have often thought that my mother would out live me and there have been times I have thought that I would not live to be 50. I certainly hope that is not true as I want to be here for my children as they grow up and make something special of their lives.

Still, seeing my mother in a vulnerable condition and her taking it so casually was frightening to me. I hope she will let me know when she is hurt or hurting and not worry that it will upset me. Of course it will upset me! But that is what it is supposed to do and that is because I love her. More than I could ever tell her and certainly more than I will ever be able to show.

I love you Mom. 


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