Posted by: Kathy | November 30, 2012

Everyone Has a Story

Everyone has a story. It’s called life and begins the moment we are born. What happens from that point on affects the we think, what we feel, and how we act or react to each situation we encounter. Moments of life, big or small, shape us, molding each of us into unique individuals.

In certain situations, there is an “expected” way for us to act – the social norm. If we act differently, do not act in the way that is expected of us, our friends or family may look at us differently or say hurtful things. But given any situation, no one acts/reacts in the exact same way. I believe if a group of adults all around the same age experienced the same exact situation, some would act in a similar way. But there would be differences in thoughts, feelings, actions, and reactions because of previous life experiences and the impact they made on each individual person.

Everyone has a story. My story has been told in bits and pieces — in the words that have come together to create over 200 posts, along with responses to comments on this blog and comments I’ve made on other blogs. This blog is my story of one of the most difficult times of my life — the death of my mom and healing from that tremendous loss. Before my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, there were so many things that had happened in my life that affected the way I reacted to this most unexpected news and how I continued to act during her illness and after my mom died. My story is one of raw emotion, written from the heart.

My mom lived for 349 days from diagnosis until death. I learned of her diagnosis the day after she and my dad received it. For 347 days I prayed for God to save my mom, then on the 348th day I asked God to relieve my mom’s suffering and take her home. That prayer was answered 2 hours after I spoke it. I didn’t want to lose my mom, but I also didn’t want her to be in pain anymore. She had stopped eating, drinking, and speaking, and was in a lot of pain. Death was the only way to bring her peace. For 348 days I lived in constant fear that I would lose my mom. I didn’t know when it would happen, but I knew my mom was doing to die, and then she did. Living with this constant fear, watching pancreatic cancer slowly and painful strip my mom of life, and the loss that death brings changed me.

Everyone has a story, and some of my readers have shared pieces of their story with me. Through this blog I have learned that people I’ve never met in person understand what I am feeling and why I feel a certain way. For that I am grateful, since there are those who know me personally and do not understand at all. My life experiences have deeply affected the way I think, how I act, and what I feel. And it is the life experiences of others that help them understand me and relate to the words I write.

Everyone has their own unique story. Please feel free to share your story with me.

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Responses

  1. Your words and your pain touch me deeply, Kathy. No one else can know how much you suffer, that is felt by you alone. However you deal with your loss, you have my understanding.

    February 3, 2011 my husband and I got the news that he was in stage 3b of inoperable lung cancer. Six months later he was gone. I spent more than half my life with David; he was my one true love.

    Each day is still excruciating without him. I do have Bear though, which helps. He is made from David’s shirts and brings me such comfort.

    Blessings ~ Maxi

    • Hi Maxi: As I said, I’ve found it is those who have experienced loss who truly understand and I appreciate your understanding. I’m sorry you lost the love of your life. I believe that to be the same with my dad when my mom died. I think of the special love they shared and how they were together since college.

      I got bears for my kids, and now I need one for myself. I just have to figure out what I want the bear made out of. I’m trying to decide between two things – a sweater my mom wore around the house or a sweatshirt with flowers. Take care

  2. Kathy, I’ve been so moved by your honesty and your compassion. I, too, have found so much comfort in the words of strangers. Although, now that I think about it, I don’t think of anyone in this community as a stranger. You are all friends of mine. We don’t meet for coffee, but we share our grief and celebrate our loved ones with one another. That means a lot.

    • Thank you Loni. Writing with open and raw emotion has been my way of healing. You’re right, it’s not the words of strangers, it’s the words of those who understand, who have walked or are walking in our shoes in a way, who know what we are feeling. This understanding has turned strangers into friends, as we respect one another’s feelings and try to help each other through the journey of grief and loss. I wish we could meet for coffee. Take care.

  3. You said it so eloquently, everyone has a story. You are so right about that. I know well the life altering experience of the daily praying, begging, pleading even bargaining with God for healing of my mom, like yours, due to pancreatic cancer.

    I knew what the ending for my mom would be because my husband had died just a year before from pancreatic cancer. It doesn’t stop us hoping and praying though.

    I’m sorry for your loss. I hope the passage of time has softened the loss of your mom just a little bit.

    I appreciate you sharing your story with the rest of us…your readers. It helps to know we are part of a larger group of those left behind by a loved one due to pancreatic cancer.

    • Hi Rose: I’m sorry for your losses. Pancreatic cancer is such a horrible disease. I hoped, I prayed, I begged God to save my mom, to give her a miracle. I even offered 5 years of my life to God to give my mom more time. I know my prayers were heard, but they weren’t answered in the way I wished they would be. Now she’s gone – 349 days from diagnosis to death. I know it’s longer than a lot of people get and I am grateful for that time. Her final days still haunt me at times. I miss her every day. At least I know she is at peace and no longer suffering. I wish you all the best. I wish you peace and happiness. Take care.

      • “I know my prayers were heard, but they weren’t answered in the way I wished they would be.” God does that doesn’t He? Answers our prayers with YES, NO, NOT YET or maybe something else.

        Its interesting to me, in an odd sort of way I guess that you know exactly how many days she has been gone. I lost track of how many days my husband and my mom have been gone. I know the day and the hour they left though. We all do it differently don’t we? This grief thing. But no way is the wrong way.

        Does it help? Knowing she is at peace and no longer suffering? I know it was an utter relief for me when their suffering ended. But my husband said it best, “I have the easy job I just have to die and I get to go to Heaven. It’s the rest of you left behind that has the hard job…getting on without me.” Boy was he right about that. I didn’t know how profound a statement that was until it came true. I didn’t know my husband was capable of profound thoughts like that! Lmao!!!

      • The 349 days I refer to in my comment is the number of days my mom lived between her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and when she died (sorry for the confusion). But I can easily figure out how long my mom has been gone – 4 years and 16 days 🙂 . I don’t know why I do it, figure this number out. It’s something I just do. I’ve started off blogs with the number of years, months, and days my mom has been gone. And you’re right, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. We just need to grieve and then try to heal.

        Yes, it does help knowing my mom is at peace, and I truly know this. You’re husband sounds like an insightful person. My mom was more worried about my dad than herself. She knew she was going to die and also knew that he was going to grieve deeply for her loss. We all still miss her as a family. She was the glue that held us together.

  4. Hi Kathy…I am currently reading Will Schwalbe’s book called, ‘The End of Your Life Book Club’. I am finding this book to be an honest, and real account of Schwalbe’s life with his mother after her pancreatic cancer diagnosis. I find comfort in reading other people’s stories which is why I am linked to your blog. If you have not read this book before, I recommend you give it a try. I downloaded it from my iPad for only $4.99.
    Thank you for continuing to write about your feelings regarding your precious mother, her diagnosis, her death, and how your life has unfolded following her death. We will always feel the heavy impact of cancer and how it drastically changed our lives, and shaped us to be who we are today. Let’s hope that in our life time, we will see a cure. God Bless..

    • Thanks Wendie. The book sounds interesting. I will have to check it out. I was actually trying to write a similar book. But I just can’t go back to those days. It still hurts too much. I’m glad my blog brings you some comfort – it helps to me know that, as I still wonder some days how long I should keep writing. I hope one day they will find a cure for pancreatic cancer. It would be a miracle. Take care.

  5. I agree…we do all have a story. It’s a marvelous thing how we can help each other heal by sharing our stories.

    • Hi Denise: I am amazed at how people who’ve never met can relate to each other and help one another. I am grateful to everyone who has read my story on this blog, people who have left comments, and for the stories that have been shared with me. Writing has helped me to heal, along with everyone who visits my blog.

  6. I am truly comforted by your writings, and also the responses of others to it. Thank you, again… I am beginning to see that I am not crazy for still having bouts of crying, that lasts for days, even after 10 months without my mom.
    I lost my dad to cancer 15 years ago, and oh, how he loved Christmas! Now trying to keep the memories alive for all the grandkids, memories of grandpa, and now grandma…this is so hard!

    • Thank you, Lynn. No you are not crazy. I think I cried every day for more than a year after my mom died. Grieving is a process that moves at a different pace for everyone. For me, the grieving process was a slow one. Christmas is a difficult holiday, especially if you had a parent who made it special. I’ve taken my some of my mom’s traditions and made them my own, so I can remember her in a special way with my kids. Take care.

  7. Wow this brings a tear to my eye. I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. It is a horrible disease that takes a life all too soon. I wish you continued healing every day.

    • Hi, I had to revise my comment after linking to your blog through your name. I am so sorry you are battling pancreatic cancer. I think your outlook is incredible. I loved your Thanksgiving blog and why cancer doesn’t suck. My mom had very strong will to live and was always very positive. I wish you all the best. Take care. HUGS

      • Oh thank you so much. I wish you the very best as well and continued healing every day!

  8. Kathy, you have done it again. You express yourself so beautifully and once again, what you have written speaks to me and has such resonance. Can I just re-post your thoughts on my blog?

    • I would be honored if you reposted this on your blog. You bring tears to my eyes and warm my heart. Thank you. 🙂

      • Thank you. And I will.

  9. Kathy- I found your blog after my dad passed away. I needed to know that others out there understood what I was going through and your blog has brought me comfort.
    My dad lived a mere 4 1/2 months from his cancer diagnosis and it was a nightmare for all of us. He was 67 when diagnosed and I feel cheated out of the years I thought I was going to have with him. We had a wonderful relationship- we loved chatting and laughing about everything and my dad thrived on hearing stories about his grandkids. My 4-year-old son will remember him, I hope. My 2 year old probably won’t and it breaks my heart. You’re right that an experience like this changes a person. How can it not? It definitely makes one realize what’s important and worth getting upset about, and what one can just let go.
    Christmas eve will be the 7-month anniversary of my dad’s passing. He loved Christmas: hosting, cooking, making sure everyone had a full glass of wine, telling jokes, pushing my mom’s Christmas cookies on everyone every five minutes. I feel sick when I think about the impending first Christmas without my dad, yet I feel compelled to give my kids a fantastic, magical Christmas they will love. How to pull it off? I don’t know but I’m going to try.
    Thanks again for your words. I’m so sorry you had to experience the loss of your mom. I appreciate that you have turned it into a way to help others while expressing your own grief.

    • Hi Eva: I’m so sorry you lost your dad to cancer. He sounds a lot like my mom. She loved Christmas too and made the day special for everyone. My first Christmas without my mom was awful, but I put on a smile and made the best of the day for my kids. Their happiness and love helped me to get through the day. Even though 4 years have passed since my mom died, the holidays are still hard, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. I too feel cheated out of many years I could have shared with my mom and she could have shared with her grandkids. Your kids will remember you dad because of the memories you share with them. My daughter’s memories of her grandmother are mine, but they are real. Know that you are not alone. I wish you all the best. Take care!


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