My mother is dying. I would do anything to make that not true, but I cannot. If we are very lucky we will lose her later rather than sooner, but I only want that if she can be somewhat herself and have some dignity. I am not so selfish that I want her to linger because I can't bear to let her go. Don't get me wrong, I can't bear it. When I was twenty, my father died and, in my grief, I thought that we all let it happen because when the doctors said he was dead, we believed them. I thought that if we had all simply refused to accept something so utterly unacceptable, we could make it not be so. It was a foolish thought, I realize, but I wished for it with all my heart. If I still believed that wishes come true, I would wish for my mother to be well & happy. In fact, knowing full well that it is not likely to happen, I wish for it anyway.
The cancer she was told she'd beaten returned. It returned just weeks after she was given the "five year all clear", the milestone all breast cancer survivors hope to reach, the holy grail of restored good health. She has tumors in her breast, spine and brain. In the last year, she has broken both hips and her right wrist. She has congestive heart failure, cognitive impairment and has recently had shingles. She is eighty-one and frail. She is the person I love best in all the world.