Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I never thought it would still hurt so much

Two years ago today official marks the worst day of my life, the day my mother in law lost her battle with cancer.

Ann was more than a mother in law to me, she was actually like a second mother. We were so close, closer than I'd ever thought I'd be with my MIL. I even worked for her for three years!

When I was 4 months pregnant with Dylan we found out that she had colon cancer. In the beginning we didn't know how bad it was, so our hopes were still high. The day after her diagnosis we found out it was at least stage 2 (which meant it had spread outside her colon, but not to her lymph nodes yet). The next day however we got news that would shatter out lives forever.

The cancer had spread to her liver, which meant stage 4. She went in for surgery right away to remove what tumors they could and to get an idea of exactly how bad it was. The spots on her liver were smaller than they had originally thought, but they were to deep to remove. They told us though they could shrink the spots with chemo.

I just remember thinking, this can't be happening. I'm pregnant with my first child, Ann's first grand baby. She's only 48 years old, she can't have cancer! The treatments helped and didn't help. It seemed like every time she'd have a scan that said the tumors were shrinking or there wasn't any growth, the next scan would show growth.

The day Dylan was born such a bitter sweet day. I remember looking at Ann holding Dylan and thinking, there's no way she's going to die. Dylan needs her, we all need her. Our family wouldn't be the same without her.

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That same morning; September 14, 2004, she had a doctors appointment to discuss her progress. She called Bryan after the appointment and told him horrible news. If the tumors didn't start shrinking more she'd be dead within 6 months to 1 year. I went from being elated at the birth of my daughter, to heart broken and then to angry. I was so angry with her for telling us this on the day our daughter was born. I thought that Bryan would not see this day as a happy one anymore.

So the days, weeks and months went by. As the treatments became more and more aggressive her hair began to fall out, she lost tons of weight and she just didn't have the energy she once did. In the beginning of June 2005 we'd got the news we never thought we'd actually hear.

After a visit with her oncologist, Ann was told she only had 2 weeks to a month left. We were all so devastated. Everyone left work; Bryan, his 2 brothers, his sister and me. We all converged at the house that had always been so full of laughter and love. We couldn't believe what was happening. Right after the final diagnosis family started flying out from all over so they could say their goodbyes. Ann seemed to get better after a few days she was even eating again! It didn't last long however.

Bryan's step dad called on Sunday the 19th (which was actually Father's Day that year) and said we should come over and say goodbye. I remember thinking, how am I supposed to say goodbye? My husband went upstairs first and when he came back down I could see the tears. This was bad, if Bryan's crying, it's bad.

I went upstairs and laid on the bed next to her. She never opened her eyes but she knew I was there. I didn't know how even begin to say goodbye, all I could think about was all the people she was leaving behind. Finally I said my goodbyes and kissed her on the head. That would be the last time I would see her alive.

Early in the morning on June 20, 2005 Ann passed away. Bryan went over to the house, but I stayed behind with Dylan. I just snuggled up with her in bed crying, thinking about how unfair life/God can be. As I started drifting off to sleep something incredible happened. I was laying on my side and I felt pressure on my eyebrow and it moved a little. It's hard to explain, but I know that it was Ann coming to kiss me goodbye.

I've never been a very religious person, but I am spiritual. I believe in God and Jesus and I hope that there is something more for us when we die. But having Ann come and say goodbye to me gave me such a sense of peace that, to this day I still can't explain.

I thought after two years it wouldn't hurt as much, but it does. Does the hurt ever go away? I see Dylan & Justin and think of all that she's missing out on. She's not just missing out on her grand kids, she has three other children besides Bryan. She'll never see them get married, have kids of there own and all the other milestones of their life.

I love you and miss you so much Ann, we all do.

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