Last year, I didn’t receive a birthday card from my mom for the first time. No “Happy Birthday, my sweet Turkey!” or “Gobble, Gobble up your special day!” in an elaborately hand-constructed, multi-folding, pop-up birthday card. In fact, my birthday went by unacknowledged by my family. But this was to be expected. Around Thanksgiving, my mom was not doing well; I spent that Christmas in a hospital room with her. Being strong and encouraging on the outside, heart breaking on the inside. Knowing I probably would never get another card from her again.

My mom is sick. She’s dying. The cancer that had taken hold in her body was in both lungs and eventually spread to her spine, ribs, and now hip. She had chemo, and afterward, something happened where her taste buds were…broken. Sweet things tasted like sewage and so on. Thus, limiting the types of food she could eat. And then, she basically could not or would not eat anything. So, she began to wither away, losing somewhere around 50 pounds late last summer. She was very soon admitted to the hospital which observed her and put her on an IV. She was eventually discharged.

It was right before Thanksgiving and my birthday when she began to stop eating again. She went downhill fast. By the second week of December, she was back in the hospital on an intravenous nutritional IV called a TPN. Well, she couldn’t be on that forever. But after a week, she began to feel a lot better and they discharged her. Since she’s been eating a little bit, enough to keep her out of the hospital. For now.

I’m a realist. I know she’s not going to be around much longer. She’s said, she’s lived a great life and loved every minute of it. I believe her, and I try not to be sad for her. There are things I wish; I wish I had someone in my life so they could meet her and my mom would know I found someone. I wish I had children, give her a few more grandkids and a few more smiles and joyous moments. But I understand, this is the way life works. For those things to have happened, I’d have to be another person. I just hope my mom thoroughly enjoys time with the time she has left. Who am I kidding, of course she will, it’s who she is.