By my count, there have been about five times that I thought I would have to write this post. This is both longer than I thought I would be and so, so, little time than I thought I would have.
Hi. We haven’t met. My name is Kate. I’m Jen’s eldest and only daughter.
To cut it straight to the chase, she doesn’t have long left. She’s been fighting almost 10 years. This week, we start home hospice. I’ve known this would be coming for a decade now but I find myself listless. In shock. I don’t know how I go to work or begin a new semester or go on with my life tomorrow, even though I know full well that I don’t really have much choice. If my mom knew I was even thinking about dropping out of paralegal school because of her, she’d be horrified.
I was 14 when she was first diagnosed. I remember the day clearly still. It was my first day of spring break. We were gonna go shopping. She got a call during our drive to the mall from the hospital, telling her to come immediately.
I’m 23 now. She lived long enough to see me get my college degree, something that her doctors nine years ago thought was a long shot.
She’s told me a lot of things since her diagnosis. She’s said repeatedly that she wants her funeral to be a party. That she did not want to be a “vegetable” under any circumstances. She asked my brothers and I constantly if she was a good mom.
We’d always give her the obvious answer. She was the best mom I could’ve asked for. She has never once doubted me. Once it was made clear that I wasn’t gonna be a rebellious and terrible teenager, she trusted me to make my own decisions. Even when I was a teenager, she never talked down to me.
I want more time. I’m greedy and got five years more than they said I would and I want more time. We had things we wanted to do. Just a month ago she was fine. We wanted to check out this Taiwanese restaurant. We were both itching for a trip to the beach. We were gonna go to New York. I want more time. I’m struggling to remember our last conversation where she was fully coherent. It was probably complaining about my food service job. I thought I’d be doing that at least a hundred times more.
If I could ask for anything, it’d be one last conversation. She’d be awake, and could understand what I’m saying and reply in kind. I don’t know how much time I have for whatever higher power that exists to make it happen. Right now, as I type this, none of those things are true. I’d say she’s an amazing mom. My best friend. And I have no idea what I’ll do without her.