Posted by: Kathy | October 23, 2015

My Mom’s Homecoming

As some of my long-time readers know, I have been trying to write a book about my mom and her fight against pancreatic cancer, along with my family’s healing after she died, for years now. I can never get past the first few chapters, as reliving those days to be able to write from the heart is so difficult. But I want to write this book. I need to write this book. And I will. I’ve started again, maybe the fourth time will be seen through to the end. This time I used a different voice and style of writing.

Today was a meaningful day for our family 7 years ago and it kind of relates to the intro of my book. I’d like to share with you my first chapter, the intro to my book.

Chapter 1

On October 23, 2008, my mom was released from the hospital. The 10-day stay had taken its toll on everyone, mostly my mom. She had been in the hospital the month before, but coming home this time was different. This homecoming marked the beginning of the end. There would be no more treatments to fight the cancer. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, PET scans, and other tests had been replaced by hospice care, a day nurse, visiting friends, and family. My mom’s wish to die in the house she had made a home for 35 years would be granted. The only thing that mattered was making her as comfortable as possible.

I was scared about what would happen in the coming days and weeks. I had no idea how much time we had left and I wasn’t ready to lose my mom. A world without her in it was unimaginable.

Since I worked from home and really could do my job anywhere, I decided to work at my parents’ house as much as I could. I dropped my son off at school at 8:45 am, drove the 15 minutes to my childhood home, spent the day working close to my mom whenever possible, and left at 3:15 pm to pick up my son from school. Then I would work at home until I was done for the day. At night, alone in bed, I would cry. I didn’t want to burden anyone with my sadness and fears, and I never wanted my kids to see me crying. I wanted to be strong for everyone during this painful time.

As much as I needed to be with my mom, I knew she needed her rest more. I tried to be as quiet as possible while I worked at my parents’ house. Whenever I called a coworker or participated in a conference call I went into the plant room. This room had been added onto the house years ago to accommodate my mom’s always growing collection of flowers and plants, and I guess that’s how it got its name. My mom had the green thumb in the family and shared a love of orchids with my dad. With walls of windows and a skylight, the room was always bright. It was my mom’s room, and spending time there brought me some measure of peace.

Two glass paneled doors separated the plant room from the rest of the house. Sitting on the couch I could see into the family room, where my mom spent much of her time. One day I was on a conference call, when a flash of movement on the other side of the glass doors caught my eye. My dad was walking over to my mom, who had been resting in the most comfortable chair in the house. As he stood in front her, my mom slowly got up and melted into my dad’s embrace, her arms wrapping around his waist.

My parents stood as one. Like the strength of their love could overcome the weight of the painful days that had passed, along with the knowledge of what was to come. Captivated by this display of pure love, the voices on my call became background noise. My parents had been there for each other in sickness and in health, each parent now symbolizing one of these two words. Only death would end their marriage, but death couldn’t end their love for each other. Although I was an adult, the child in me longed to slip between my parents and feel the warmth of their embrace. I doubted they even knew I was watching from the other room, but I didn’t want to get caught intruding on their private moment. Slowly I found the strength to look away, respecting their privacy.

I tried to pay attention to my call, but found myself thinking about how we had gotten to this moment and wondering how much longer we had together as a family.



  1. Oh my goodness. This is so very deep. Having lost my own mom to brain cancer, I can relate to your experience.

    I’m glad you’ve decided to continue writing your book. Blessings to you on this journey. May it profoundly heal your heart.

    • Thank you so much. I feel like I can’t move forward with other things until I write this book. I’m sorry you lost your mom to cancer too. Wishing you all the best.

      • Yes, I understand this feeling. It’s good you’re listening to it. I hope to read it when you’re done.

        • Thank you. 😊

  2. Beautifully written my friend!  So glad you are pursuing writing this book. Love you! Claudia

    • Thank you, Claudia. Don’t forget you once promised to be my guinea pig reader :-). Love you too, my friend!

  3. Beautiful, Kathy! Keep writing, sweetie. You can do it as a legacy to your Mom!

    • Thanks Christine. Nice to hear from you. I hope all is well. I intend to honor my mom with this book.

  4. So touching and heart wrenching but at the same time heart warming! Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you for your comment. I appreciate you taking the time to read. More to come. 🙂

  5. I hope to read more. This is a wonderful start to a very personal and painful account and I’m glad you decided to share it with us. 🙂

    • Thanks, Melinda. Your dedication to your book has inspired me to keep going with mine, no matter how painful it gets. *HUGS*

      • aw thank you. I’m glad my struggles are serving a higher good. *HUGS*right back at ya!

  6. Kathy,
    I have been following you since my brother in law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer almost 4 years ago. I love reading your writings…keep it up. I will be the first person to buy your book when it is published. God bless. Lisa

    • Thank you so much. I haven’t been posting as much lately, but will be writing more. I deeply appreciate your comment. Blessings to you and your family.

  7. Kathy, what a beautiful beginning of your first chapter of your book! It was very touching to read. Congrats and I know how important it is for you to do this in memory of your Mom. I’m honored that I am part of this journey with you as you write your book!

    • Thank you. Yes, you’re right, it will be a journey. My walk down memory lane. I hope this time I can finish what I started.

      • I’m sure you will! Good luck.

  8. Oh, Kathy. This brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you. It is my biggest desire to finish this book for my mom, in memory of her.

      • It will be a lovely book, I’m sure. Full of love and wonderful memories.

        • Yes, it will have lots of memories. My focus will be how I dealt with my mom’s illness and the fact that she was going to die, and how I healed after her death. I hope it helps others.

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