"I had a patient yesterday who was the same age as my mom and had a similar cancer. She wasn't doing well and her doctor went into her room for a frank discussion with her and her family. He came, with much love, with the decision to stop treatment and let her die.
Our beautiful, kind and gentle chaplain Laura and I were at her bedside. I was administering morphine for comfort, and Laura said to her "Are you afraid to die?" So direct, just like I felt when you and I were there with my mom and the hospice nurse. Remember? You and I are the only two people on this earth who remember that, one of the most horrible moments of my life.
My patient immediately, peacefully, answered "No, not at all." I took a huge breath and left the room and wanted to cry all day, but I didn't. I took excellent care of my patient and her two sons, dealt with loads of bullshit (sorry, another cuss word) on a busy ICU day outside her room, and finished my day.
Laura came by at the end of the day to check on our patient and I told her that the moment we had shared earlier was very hard for me because I had a very similar moment with my mom before she died. She said, "Your mom was not afraid, she worked so hard and found peace. Her biggest concern was for your daughter; she talked about her all the time."
I was taken by surprise for two reasons. First, I realized that this chaplain who I work with daily had spoken extensively with my mom while she was a patient in my hospital. Why hadn't I realized this before? Second, I never perceived my mom as "working hard" to find peace through her journey with cancer. (Excuse me, but I have to say right here, Fuck Cancer!!).
Could it be that she made it look easy to me? Could it be that she hid the struggle part? I never saw it. And then the painful reminder of the lost relationship between Corrie and my mom became again too painful for me to bear. I've been tired and somber, resting all day, and finally realized what I wanted to say on your blog. Simply post for me, Fuck Cancer.