She had complaints all year long which she reported to her doctor including multiple spots of skin cancer. She also reported having trouble breathing for which she was prescribed cough congestion over-the-counter medications and at one point, inhaler medication. But, not one of her doctors ever thought to order a simple chest x-ray; an x-ray that would have shown not one, but two tumors growing in her lung with time to treat the disease and maybe give her more months or a couple more years of life.
We didn't know until she was unable to swallow at dinner one night in November and we took her to the hospital. The ER doc told me he though she had cancer. She was admitted and after four night of testing, announced her illness. They gave her six months, but wanted to poison her with chemotherapy, which my mother decline with my strong urging. They ordered instead, 16 does of radiation over an 18 day period. After only four treatments, her entire strength had been taken from her. She could no longer eat as one tumor had pushed in on her food passage in her throat, closing it off. It also paralyzed her left hand. She was only drinking energy drinks that contained nutrients.
I fought with the hospital to get her nursing home care. They fought back saying Medicare would not cover it and when asked why, I was stunned to hear this: She has been admitted here as an observatory patient, not an in-patient. This particular designation would not allow her nursing home care. They also refused to change her designation because she, again with my concurrence, refused to have a tube stuck up her nose and down her air way to force feed her. They insisted that she have home palliative care, which amounted to nothing but liquid morphine to control pain.
When I found her collapsed on the floor where she had lain for two hours before I found her, the night before Thanksgiving, I knew she had to enter hospice care, no matter what the jackasses at the hospital insisted on. Would I trust my mother to local facilities? Hell no. I made calls to contacts of mine, and got her into Villa Marie Claire, run by nuns and owned by a major hospital in North New Jersey, where she was born and raised.
I trusted them completely to take care of my mother and to make sure she did not deal with any pain. I signed what amounted to a ton of paperwork, and said goodbye to her, planning on returning in a few days to visit and check her progress. I never got a chance to do that. She died to quickly.
But, all this is not the main part of this entry. What my point is what has happened since the funeral. Going through all her things, shaking my head at stuff she had kept years long past when it should have been thrown out. Then I came across a plastic bag. It was filled with photographs. Photos of "the high achievement" of her life as she noted on one. They were photos of her when she was in her very late teens or early twenties, and me. My pictures started at a mere one month and went all the way through my entry into the military.
I was absolutely thunderstruck by how beautiful a young woman she was. Beautiful blonde hair, blue eyes, dressed immaculately to fit whatever the occasion was. She could have won a beauty contest, without question. But the main focus of the photos, was always me. From the inevitable lying on my chest, bare ass sticking up after a bath photo at a few months old, on up. After seeing these photos which I had never before seen, there was no question that there was a woman photographed who absolutely adored her baby boy. Certain memories came back to me, remembering sacrifices made because of me, which bore more meaning after seeing the surrounding photos. Why hadn't she shown me these pictures when she was alive? I have so many questions about some contexts of different pics, that will never be answered. She was obviously a gentle loving woman who was blessed with good looks.
But those same good looks also brought her a lot of pain. Her first sexual encounter was via rape. In the 1950's, you didn't report rape to the police and when she became pregnant, with me, her parents thought she was a "bad girl." They forced her to marry the very man who had raped her on their first date. Lewis Augusta Simpson had raped a beautiful young woman, and then was forced by both sets of parents into marriage. He was an abusive son of a bitch, and at one point, she had to pick up a knife to protect her unborn child from physical assault. She left him and divorced him 14 years later, having never reunited as husband and wife again. Instead of telling her parents what really happened, shame made her be tarred and feathered and forced to marry an animal. I hope to God, that mentality is gone and buried with today's women.
I never knew about the rape part until after Lewis was dead at age 62. She didn't tell me because she knew I would have found him and killed him. Instead, that man fathered another three children that we know of with different women, and took care of none of them.
Secrets...can be so painful and destructive. Her story has one more painful note. Four years ago, she came into my home office and told me that I had a brother and sister. Once I picked myself up off the floor, she told me that in an attempt to make it work again with Lewis Simpson, she tried to live with him again. Both times, he got her pregnant, and these two times, my grandmother made her put the children up for immediate adoption. So, along with a father I never met, I've never met my brother or sister. Since they were adopted in New Jersey, I could not get the seal broken to find out anything. But as the investigator that I am, I did find out that my brother died only two days after his 50th birthday. I know not of what, or where he is, or even his name. I do know I have a sister-in-law and nephews that I will never get to know. Any information on my sister was tied up with Lewis Simpson who was now dead, so no trail existed upon which to investigate.
Lessons: A mother's love knows no bounds. She will endure great trial to protect her child, carry secrets that she fears she would be judged for by that same child and deal with tons of guilt because of it. The adoptions were forced by her mother as we lived with my grandparents and that was what she ruled. Funny, I always knew I had a brother and in fact, one day at our summer beach house as a young boy, remember saying, I have a brother somewhere. The statement was met by total silence by my grandparents, crazy uncle and my mother.
Regrets...I wish I had talked more personally to my mother in her final days. While the last words I said to her were, I love you, I never said, Thank you for putting up with all the bullshit in life for me. So Mom, thank you. Thank you and I will see you soon...