For A Cause

My brother and I have been toying with the idea of picking up a cause for our hike.  We have been thinking of doing the Triple Crown for Cancer.  I have been giving this one idea a great amount of thought over the past few days.  Cancer for us, me has been a huge motivator, game changer in my life.  Depending on who you ask my brother and I are cancer survivors, we have lost our mother, uncle and grandmother to cancer.

My mother Kay Ellen Scott-Jones died March 12, 1996 from pancreatic cancer, our grandmother a year or two before of the same thing, our uncle passed a few years prior.  This event forever changed our lives, that fateful day 19 years ago.  It was summertime and we were playing soccer outside the three of us, my mother, brother and I.  She pivoted to kick and turned her knee wrong and went down, injuring her leg; she later went to the doctors to have it checked out.  Come to find out when they did the MRI’s they found cancer and upon further inspection located the majority of it.

The next six or so months were rough, we moved in with our dad in another state; so I had to quit the wrestling team, scouts and other activities.  She spent weeks at the hospital trying this treatment and that, as winter drove on. I remember the blizzard that year only because there were giant mountains of snow all over the hospital parking lots.  We had gotten in trouble with the hospital for playing on them.  Pacreatic Cancer was fatal then, from what I understand of it now it is still just as bad.  She still looked healthy in the hospitals.

It wasn’t long after that my mother was moved to a hospice in Delaware off Route 7, this was a place for the terminally ill to stay and die comfortably.  I remember the smell, it was horrible, if death had a smell it smelled like chlorine, vomit, stale air, and plastic.  I hated going there, watching her wither away day after day.  At first she was feisty and hopeful for us, she said things like she would see us graduate high school and shared other dreams of hers.  Every day on the way home from school we’d go see her.  Each day watching the hope. fight, light drain away from her.

I remember one day in particular, right at the end.  She had lost the ability to speak a week before and hadn’t eaten as well.  I was holding her hand and I knew it would be any day now.  We all knew, she had nothing left, we were just waiting.  As my brother and I got up to leave we hugged her, kissed, her and told her that we loved her very much.  In this dry, hoarse voice my mom who hadn’t uttered a word, let alone a sentence in over a week spoke,.”I love you too,”  These words brought instant tears to my eyes. This was too much for one person to bear.

That night as we lay in bed we received the long dreaded phone call, my mom had passed away around 8:30 that night, six days after my 14th birthday.  She fought to our birthday, spoke after she could no longer and then just like that she was gone, taken from us so young.  Losing my mother wasn’t the worst part, that was easy compared to the following years.  Every morning as I woke, there was a moment, just a moment before I had complete clarity, before my feet touched the ground, that my mother was still alive.  As that moment faded every morning I felt that loss all over again.  This event would rock my world to the core, shaping, changing, aging me.  My childhood was over in an instant, nothing would ever be the same again.

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