Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Crosses We Carry

It's June 1st today. In two days, it will be exactly six months that Mom was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. In three days, it will be exactly six months that she had her first chemo treatment. In four days, it will be exactly six months since she was admitted into the hospital. And, in six days it will be exactly six months since I purchased the holding cross. I heard about the holding cross from my dear friend Patti. So, I looked it up. Turns out they're located in Frisco, TX about 20 minutes or so away. So, I gave them a call and asked if I could come pick one up. I spoke with the owner Carol, who explained that they were getting ready to go to a trade days show and would be closed the next day. So, I then explained about Mom, her diagnosis, and that my husband was going up the next afternoon to spend the weekend with her. Without blinking an eye, Carol said to come by the next day and she would open the store especially for me so that I could get the holding cross to Mom. Since I'm not a big fan of Frisco (too congestive and busy) and don't know my way around, I asked Carol, my best friend, to go with me. I thought it a gift from God then, and I still do, that the woman who owns the store's name was Carol, my best friend is Carol, and Mom's name is Carol. We, the kids and George and I went to Mass with the kids that evening. We all prayed over the cross. We passed it back and forth during the Mass. It brought each of us a comfort of sorts.

So, George flew up to Philly to see his mom for what turned out to be the last time. She never got to hold or see the cross. There were too many wires. When I went up for the funeral, I was able to bring the holding cross home. The cross stays with me always. It stays in my purse where I can touch it any time I need to. The cross was held by my son, on his birthday this year, as he received his confirmation. The cross was given to one of my best friends Kim K when she was in labor with her newest bundle of joy, Leo Joseph Kay. The cross is currently back in the hospital. Kim's Mom, Kathy, whom I adore has been in the hospital since last Wednesday evening. I was able to bring it to her on Thursday. She is still in the hospital we are still waiting to hear some news.

In two weeks it will be exactly six months since Mom passed. I don't like it anymore today then I did six months ago. Six months ago, I couldn't see how life could, let alone would, go on. But the days they do go by. And, time waits for no one. I'm sure there are a myriad of platitudes I could spew but I am too tired. The point being that each day of the last six months has been a struggle in one way or another. Some days my cross is so heavy I feel like I am walking through wet sand. Some days I miss Mom so much I don't think I can breathe. Some days, I am emotionally and spiritually brought to my knees. Then, I saw a sign last week, it said pain is inevitable suffering is optional. I know it's only been a week since I saw it, but I've tried to think of it as situations arise.

I know I am not the first person to lose someone they love so dearly, nor will I be the last. I know compared to many, my crosses that I carry may seem small. I have a friend who lost two parents within two years of each other. Most recently his mother right before Mother's Day. I have a friend whose Mom is battling cancer. Patti's mother-in-law is battling cancer. I have a friend who battled breast cancer last year, a friend who lost a son-in-law, a friend who lost a child. I have a friend who lost her best friend after a four year battle with cancer. I have friends who've had miscarriages, divorces, job losses and legal situations. However, I cannot compare my crosses to theirs. My cross while most days seems too heavy to bear, is apparently the right size made just for me.

So, as life goes on as it inevitably does, I will continue to take it day by day. Some days minute by minute and one day I will look up and sadly it will be a year that has passed. However, I am lucky. No, I am blessed. I am blessed beyond all measure. Not only because I have a loving Father who carries me when I am weak and knows every tear that I cry, not just because I have a loving family and a close support group of friends who are there for me no matter what, but because I was able to spend almost ten years with a wonderful woman who taught me so much about faith and marriage and unconditional love. I love you, Mom.


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