I knew when my mother called me on a Thursday that something was very wrong. For the past 5 years, she always called on Sunday. She had just come back from hiking in the Pyrennes and hadn’t been feeling well. Within a month, she had lost 10 pounds. Within 2 months close to 25. They finally diagnosed the problem........cancer. But not just cancer, stage 4 lung cancer with mets to the bones, liver and brain. My head kept going back to the Pyrennes. How does someone hike 3500 ft verticle everyday for 2 weeks and then end up here in such a short period of time?
She wanted me to come visit because she was afraid she would never see me again. Yes, of course. She said it didn’t need to be anytime soon but to think about getting here before November. The tone of her voice resonated with me as the undertone a mother takes with her child......but really sooner would be better. I could feel my neck tighten up with the tension I usually feel when trying to do too much in a short period of time. Immediately, my mind started reeling with all that I had to take care of....2 kids, dog, boyfriend, Well Fed Neighbor 1st Annual 5K Trail run coming up next weekend, football game for my son and practices for my daughter. When was I going to fit it in? And then a calm came, my shoulders relaxed and I picked up the phone and made a plane reservation to go see my mother. The rest would work itself out.
She is a mere skeleton of the person I saw several months before but her eyes spoke of the spirit that was down in there ready to fight. We had the most fantastic visit. We laughed and talked about things that I was not even aware had happened to our family. We went through boxes of old pictures and the love letters that my mother had written to my father while he was away at college. He had saved every one. She blushed when she started reading one and quickly put it away stating it was not a good idea for me to read that one. We talked about feeding our spirits as much as feeding our bodies, staying positive and effecting the things that we could and not worrying about the rest. We decorated the front walkway with fall harvest trimmings and cleaned up the yard together. Frequently, she would apologetically rest. She always apologized because she was the one who was usually taking care of everybody else.
How does this happen? She was the one who planted the seeds in the ground for the garden every year. She was the one that harvested all the food from the garden. She was the one that cooked all the well balanced meals when I was growing up when Dad was working long hours. She was the one that did the grocery shopping and did the best she could, keeping healthy food in the house for us all to eat. She was just hiking the Pyrenees.....did I mention that? I pulled out of the driveway to head back to the airport at the same time Mom and Dad were leaving for Mom’s last radiation treatment to her brain. She called while I was sitting at Logan waiting on the plane to board. Good news! The chemo seems to be working. Her O2 saturations are back in the 90’s and has gained back 2 pounds.
I guess I just needed to write this all down. A little reflection does a lot of good......but this means war. It occurred to me that this whole experience, like all, is God given despite how awful it is. This experience has made me realize that what we are doing with the Well Fed Neighbor is very important. We know....... but most people don’t know enough to be concerned about our food supply. Mom, Dad and I had some pretty lengthy conversations about our food supply and WFNA. My mother of course, was just happy that I was doing something that made me happy. My father is all for transparency with regard to our food supply. As a mother, my wish for my children would be that they were allowed the education and opportunity to choose what they are eating and be able to rest assured that it is what it is labeled to be.