Yeah. What she said.

Did you ever start writing something with no idea where it’s going?

Me too.

In a nutshell, my 93-year-old mother, my independent, living on her own for the first time ever for 10+ years since my dad died, exasperating, infuriating, Scrabble- and crossword-loving, card-playing, remarkable, enigmatic Mum, died a couple weeks ago. Just 4-1/2 weeks after we learned she had cancer.

[Expletive deleted] cancer.

On the day of her funeral, we learned that my 78-year-old mother-in-law’s recently diagnosed breast cancer has in fact metastasized throughout her body. My petite, giving, Silver Sneakers-going, husband-and-son-doting, cookie-baking, bird-feeding, daughter-in-law-welcoming mother-in-law is now facing the fight of her life, for her life. Because of cancer.

[Expletive deleted] cancer.

And so, nothing else I might write here seems worthwhile or meaningful. Except perhaps to note that most people — even utter strangers — are extraordinarily kind in the face of others’ misfortune. (Making the one person who should have been and wasn’t — a cemetery employee — all the more shameful in comparison.) Friends are downright breathtaking in their compassion and caring. Family is utterly essential. Sisters who care-give with you, laugh with you, cry with you, support you, lean on you, and sustain you are the greatest gift your parents ever gave you. And a husband who worries over you, holds you, grieves with you, and loves you even when all your love back is occupied elsewhere is the greatest gift God ever gave you.

That and the gift of a loving mom…or two.

Hmmmm…so that’s where this post was headed.

My mother is a poem
I’ll never be able to write,
though everything I write
is a poem to my mother.
~ Sharon Doubiago 


  1. BoatDrinkBaby said,

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Wow. Just wow. (Great post, Chris.)

  2. mel said,

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Tearfully finishing my read this morning. I am so sorry for your loss; you are blessed to have had your mom, and to have the people who surround you now. I will lift up your MIL to our healing and sustaining Father. Don’t know how her fight’s going to go, but at least you know better than ever now that even in the midst of it all, you (and she) are not alone. I’ll be praying.

  3. WritingbyEar said,

    Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Thank you, my compassionate, caring friends.

  4. pawsinsd said,

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 7:02 am

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Her four kids and my husband sat at my mother’s hospice bedside for a week and laughed and cried and told stories of growing up. She died of [expletive deleted] cancer, too, nearly four years ago. Unfortunately, we older adults have to learn to live with this kind of loss. Learn to remember the good times. Dee

    • WritingbyEar said,

      Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 9:54 am

      Thanks, Dee. I remember you writing about your loss as well. Grief is surely a universal state of being that we can all find common ground in.

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