The story of my spiritual path may begin in 2004, as I mentioned here, but the prologue to that story definitely began in 2000, the year my mother died from cancer.
I had left the small consulting firm where I had worked for two years, and I had a job teaching part time at a vocational school. My roommate had just got married and I didn’t not make enough to afford my own place. So Mom being Mom, she let me come live with her… again.
Mom was always there for me whenever I needed her. Even when I was too selfish to be there for her. Because of this, I was determined to take care of her when she needed it. Who knew that would be three months later.
I remember being in the hospital waiting room when the doctor called me back to tell me the results of some tests. She had recently changed doctors because her previous one wasn’t doing anything about her complaints of fatigue. When the doctor said “CANCER,” I blanked everything else out. I remember asking if we caught it early. He said “I would not call this early.”
I remember a lot of anger at the doctors during her treatments; she went through several different doctors and I never felt like we were ever given all the information. The prescriptions kept piling on and it seemed like the instructions for each medicine changed each time we saw a doctor. Every time she went in for chemo, she ended up spending several days in the hospital within a week.
My brother and sister came in every weekend and a cousin came down for a few day every week. Still, I felt like I was treading water the whole time. There was a fire in the house one day while I was at work – no one was hurt, but we did spend the last month of her life dealing with that on top of everything else.
I felt helpless and useless, despite the reassurances my family kept giving me. But never more so than that Friday I came home and she needed to go to the bathroom. She was to weak to get up, and I wasn’t strong enough to carry her.
A week later, I was at her funeral.
As I look back at these events, I see now that I was exactly where I needed to be. I hated that I had to move back home, but I was needed at that is where the Universe sent me. I gained a lot of strength and purpose from those events. I have a new understanding of the world around us, and I see things differently. Many years passed before I forgave myself for my perceived shortcomings during that time, but I did – and forgave much much more.
And maybe the most important thing I learned: Everyone – the doctors, nurses, my family, and yes even me – everyone did the best they could at the time. And we still are.
And so are you.