Wednesday, January 23, 2013

[The Life of Shaun #464] 361 days

Mom died today at 11:04 am, just shy of a year from her diagnosis.  Yesterday, our amazing hospice nurse had been over for her regular visit.  In that meeting, she discussed the times people "choose" to die - not as in total control, but within the constraints of their reality.  I sceptically accepted it as benign comfort, but I think Mom died exactly when she wanted to.  I won't lie about the last days, they were awful and hard - but they were few.

We decided yesterday that someone should stay with Mom each night, just in case she came out of it and needed something.  Dad took the first night, and as a result, slept with his wife through the last night of her life.  The next morning, he drove down to pick up Mom's twin so she could be here with Mom, and during that time he was away, Mom died.  She died not unexpectedly, but before any of us could be scared about it, with all three of her children with her.

This year, despite the cancer, has been an awesome year.  We all spent so much more time with Mom than we would have otherwise, so many nights with friends and family, a surprise birthday party, countless games of cards and even more good memories.  And that's one of the things that really affected me; I love my Mom wholly, and consider myself so lucky to have her as my Mother.  I imagine most of us do with our mothers, but what hit me unexpectedly over the past year was the wave of words and expressions from others about how great a woman they thought Mom was as well.

To that, I'll leave with words that capture Mom better than I ever could myself.  After Mom was diagnosed, I was designated her secretary and handled everything having to do with paperwork, mail and eMail.  In that first week, she received one eMail that expresses so well why I am lucky to be her son:

"When I think back to my childhood, many of my best memories are of times I spent with Shaun, and you.  You were always the kind of mom I wish mine had been.  My mom was great, don't get me wrong, but there was something about the way you loved and understood your kids, no matter what, they never felt they had to hide who they were from you.  As my children grew into teenagers, you were the inspiration for the kind of mother I tried (and mostly succeeded) to be."

I love you, Mammy Spammy, and miss you already.



For those wishing to give something, Mom was never a flower type.  What you can do is donate to It's a Pittie, a rescue and education organisation for pitt bulls near Mom's home in Manteno, and where her "third daughter", Janine, is an active volunteer.  Mom always had an open heart to animals, and a donation to this organisation would mean a lot to her (donate button at the bottom of the page):


Mom, her husband, kids, and one sneaky granddaughter.

Shaun H. Coley | At large in Naperville, IL |
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