Posted by: Kathy | October 2, 2012

This Time of Year

This is my favorite time of year. When I walk out into the cooler weather that October finally brings, I feel more alive. I love being able to wear my sweatshirts, getting back into the routine of school, going “trick or treating” with the kids, the beautiful colors of the leaves, and thinking about celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family.

Even though this is my favorite time of year, it’s also a difficult time for me. In September I honor my mom on her birthday and participate in a pancreatic cancer walk in her memory. As September leads into October, I remember how my mom’s health began to deteriorate. Instead of talking about treatments to fight against the cancer, the doctors spoke about ways to make my mom more comfortable. I remember our visits to the hospital, and the night I thought my mom was going to die after a surgery she had had to improve her quality of life. That was the night realization set in that the fight against this deadly disease was coming to an end. Letting go of the hope that my mom would beat pancreatic cancer was one of the hardest things to do.

I think of the day my mom came home from the hospital. My dad referred to it in his eulogy as the day he brought my mom home to die. It’s not a bad thing. My dad was honoring my mom’s wishes, and he spent coming weeks caring for his wife. Every day I would go over to my parents’ house after dropping my son off at school and spend the day working there, just so I could be with my mom. One day I was on a conference call and my mom was in the family room. Through the glass doors I watched as my dad walked in. My mom stood up and leaned into him, like she had done so many times before. Their arms went around each other and they stood there. It was like neither one wanted to let go. Their love was obvious and I longed to slip in between them, to be part of that embrace. But it was my parents’ embrace of true love, meant just for them.

I have many memories of the final weeks of my mom’s life, but the ones I shared are the strongest right now. As I go through the coming weeks, I will relive the memories of that time, just as I did last year. The images are bittersweet, filled with love and tinged with sadness.



  1. Oh my goodness – the visual of your mom leaning into your dad and them holding each other…so touching, so loving. Thank you for sharing that moment of intimacy with us.

    • Thanks. It’s a moment I will never forget. 🙂

  2. The “ber” Months are also my favorite time of the year. For me, September marks the beginning, October my birth month, November tells me that Christmas is near and December is full of celebrations and merry making. Starting this year, however, these months signal my sadness: first of many first. My first birthday without her. I am envious, at the same time, happy for you to have spent every day with your mom and for witnessing the love she and your dad shared during her last moments with the family. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • I hope these next few months aren’t too hard for you. Life is so different now that my mom is gone. In these coming “ber” months I try to keep my mom’s traditions alive. I was lucky to have the ability to work anywhere, so I was able to work at my parents’ house. Those bits of time meant a lot to me, because before my mom got sick, we didn’t spend a lot of time together, at least not what I’d consider quality time. I always thought she’d be there. My parents shared a rare and special love, one that doesn’t come along often. Take care.

  3. hi kathy, i’m also very quiet but still reading your blog posts….this sept 16 marked the 2 yr without my mom, and it feels like yesterday, with the memories haunting me of her last week in the hospital. the pain as raw as ever, i read your stories to find comfort, solace and hope. sending hugs, Wendy

    • Hi Wendy: It’s nice to hear from you. I remembered your mom on the 16th, since it’s the day before my mom’s birthday. I hope the day wasn’t too hard for you. I understand the rawness of your pain and how memories can come rushing back with the same intensity as if it were the day it happened. I hope that you will begin to heal and your pain will lessen. One thing that’s been on my mind lately is how much my mom loved me and how she wouldn’t want me to live in pain. Take care of yourself. Hugs.

  4. I found your blog by chance and after reading through some of your posts (I hope you don’t mind) – I felt the need to reach out and say that I admire your honest words. I lost my father to pancreatic cancer recently and so much of what you write speaks directly to my aching heart. My thoughts and my heart go out to you – I know how much it hurts.

    • Hi Marianne: I write to help myself and others heal through the loss of a loved one. Thank you for reading my posts. I’m sorry about the loss of your father. Pancreatic cancer is such an awful disease. Know that you are not alone as you travel along the path of grief and healing. Take care and reach out if you need to talk. Hugs.

  5. I’ve been very quiet, but wanted to let you know I am still reading and being touched by all your posts. *hugs*

    • Thanks Laurel. It’s ok to be quiet – sometimes it’s what we need. I hope all is well with you. Take care.

  6. My mom was slipping away last fall as well. The memories combined with the natural turning-inward of this time of year makes for the whole rainbow of emotion. Big hugs.

    • “Rainbow of emotion”…I like that. I usually call it a rollercoaster of emotion. I hope this time gets easier for you. Take care. Hugs

  7. Bittersweet yes, and precious none the less. You are very courageous, and I admire that about you. much love to you as you go through this difficult time.

    • Yes, they are precious memories, even if they can be painful. They are memories I will not forget, as they live in my heart. Thank you so much for your comment. Take care. 🙂

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