Search This Blog

Monday, September 17, 2012


I apologize for not having updated this blog recently.  It has been an event-filled week.  I did get my pathology reports back from my latest serum immnofixation and bone biopsy tests.  The results were good, but this post is not about me.

This past weekend, we were in Greensburg, PA for a 70th birthday party for my high school class of 1960.  This event has been scheduled for many months.  My 94-year-old mother has been in an assisted living facility nearby.  Her condition has deteriorated since she broke her leg last November.  Two weeks ago, my brother, Terry, and I agreed to bring in hospice care to help alleviate her pain and keep her comfortable.

Fortunately, we were able to spend some time with her on Friday and Saturday.  It was clear that she was failing rapidly and that it would only be a matter of time.  I spent Friday all night in her room with her, and although she was only barely conscious of my presence, I'm glad I was able to be there with her.  On Saturday, most of her family had gathered around her, and I think that is when she decided to let go.

Yesterday morning, Terry and I went in to see her, and the hospice nurse said that the end was near.  We left to go prepare to come back later for the final vigil, but she chose otherwise.  Ten minutes after we left her room, she died.  I can't help but think that she went out on her own terms and at a time of her own choosing.

I will miss her greatly, but it with a great sense of relief that I know she is no longer suffering.  She had a long and eventful life, and her time had come.  It is not a time to mourn, but rather it is a time to celebrate her life.

It is also a great relief to me that she did not survive me.  That is the natural order of things.  This natural order was knocked awry when my younger brother, Michael, succumbed to cancer 5 years ago.  Mom's three sons were her whole life, and Michael's death was truly a tragedy.  When I reluctantly informed her of my cancer last February, I feared for her response.  To my surprise, she actually took it very well, and she rejoiced in the news of my good progress every time we talked.  Still, the specter of losing yet another son must have haunted her.  Terry believes that that is when Mom decided that she had to go, and indeed, she had been in decline ever since.

In the next few days, I will update this blog with details of my latest test results, but there is time enough for that.


  1. Deepest sympathy in the passing of your mother, though I can tell you are rejoicing in her 94 years. The fact that you were able to be with her in those final days, and that she didn't have to endure the loss of another son before their time, is a great blessing. May you find comfort in years of wonderful memories!

  2. I am sorry to hear of your monther's passing. Our condolences to you and your family. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

    Michael & Wendy

  3. Dear Bill
    I have been moved many times to write you but alas the loss of your mom has moved me to do so. Losing ones parent, especially ones mother is a deep loss. Tony's mom died a few years ago, with Hospice by her side at the age of 92 and she too waited to see each of her 8 children before she died. I too was convinced she waited to say goodbye to each child before passing. Such a gift to leave uswith. I am so glad your mom did not have to endure more suffering. Much love to you and Gretchen. Cheryl