Actually, it's been a tough year. This time last year, my mom fell and broke her hip. Not even a week later, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. So... off I went, spending two weeks down in KY helping my mom, back home for a week of rest, back down for two weeks, back home a week, etc. Did this all the way through to December. In the middle of a global pandemic no less.
On December 15th of 2020, around 8:30 pm, I was taking care of mom. The phone rang. Five minutes later I received a call that had the weight of the world bearing down on my shoulders. I gently leaned over and hugged my mom while she sat in her recliner. I grabbed her hand and got down on my knees to look up at her. "Mom, sis isn't suffering any longer. She's gone."
That was the absolute worst moment of my life.
The second worst moment of my life happened last Tuesday, June 1st, 168 days later. That was the day that my brother and I had to make the heart wrenching decision to take my mom off life support. She'd been intubated for 13 days, from a recent illness. She had a laundry list of medical problems that had all played a part in her deteriorated state, and a endoscopic procedure while she was on the ventilator revealed stomach cancer. She'd not eaten in over two weeks.
Around 6pm Tuesday afternoon, she was off the vent and the sedation was wearing off. We were preparing her for a makeshift hospice room where she could transition peacefully. She opened her eyes and looked at me. I grabbed her hand and rubbed it gently on my face and beard. She smiled. I was holding it together pretty good, up until she said something that I could barely hear. She was so weak... I leaned over and asked her what she said. She smiled at me and said, "How's your hip, son?"
I'd taken care of my mom most of last year on an arthritic hip that was worn so bad that it never stopped hurting. Each time I would go down to take care of her, I'd have to pull off the road and walk around every 90 minutes or so to alleviate the pain. What is normally a 10-hr drive required 13 hours... but I dealt with it because my mom needed someone to take care of her. I took so much Xtra Strength Tylenol that I'm surprised my liver is still functioning properly.
Back after my sister's funeral in December, my mom was doing some better. She told me to go home and to not come back until my hip was replaced, she was well enough to take care of herself by that point. She was actually driving and probably had more mobility than I did at the time. I agreed. I should've had my hip replaced at the beginning of last year, but COVID pretty much removed all elective surgeries. My hip was hurting me nonstop by the summer... it didn't matter if I was sitting or walking. The pain was unbearable.
Fast forward to that evening, nearly a year later. My mom, knowing she was soon going to reunite with my sister and my pops, asked me how my hip was doing.
She passed 36 hours later.
It's been a helluva year to say the least.
They say that God won't put us through anything that we cannot handle. That's not true. At all. Because if that was true, we wouldn't need to call on Him for help. Every blessed day of my life, going all the way back to when this storm made landfall back in June of last year, I called on Him every single day to help me.
God helped me when I could no longer help myself. And I thank Him that I was able to not only stay sober - but to be there with my mom every last step of way.
Hang tough, brothers. Keep the faith. If God can get a stubborn ol' country boy like myself through the worst year of my entire life, there's nothing He cannot do.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you this evening.
God bless you all.