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Phone Calls With Mom (Part 2)

by J. Delaney-Howe 3 months ago in siblings / parents / immediate family / humanity
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Facing My Mother's Mortality

Phone Calls With Mom (Part 2)
Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

About nine months ago, I wrote a piece about my phone calls with my mom. It is one of my most read pieces and was a “Top Story” on Vocal. If you missed it, it can be found here.

The piece is about our relationship and the phone calls we shared, which made our relationship what it is. We have still been talking just about every day, and we have seen each other at family cookouts and get-togethers through the summer, which was a nice change from last year. Like nine months ago, I still call my mamma every day. Updates on the family, recipes, and funny situations that happened. Our phone calls are just as important today in our relationship as they were when I wrote the first piece.

The conversations started to change over the summer. It became hard for her to remember her train of thought. She would struggle to find the words she wanted to use. She had a couple of falls at home. She was diagnosed with Aphasia, which has numerous causes.

Aphasia is a condition that affects a person’s ability to use language to communicate. Short-term memory issues, inability to understand phrases, speech difficulties, and writing difficulties are all symptoms of Aphasia. (You can read more about it below).

As you can imagine, phone conversations became challenging. Many times it was just a quick I love you. (She hasn’t forgotten that phrase). For a week or so, it seemed my mom was getting worse. Through several calls my sister made, my mom got in for an MRI as they began to look at the cause of the Aphasia. They found a mass in her brain. My sister was called back that evening, and was instructed to bring my mother to the emergency room.

At the hospital, they started administering steroids to combat the swelling in her brain. Her Aphasia was getting better, yet still there. Due to Covid restrictions, visitation was difficult, but my sister, my brother, my aunt, and I made sure she had a visit each day she was in the hospital. And I still called every day.

The imaging they had done informed us that the tumor is located in her temporal lobe and is inoperable. A biopsy revealed that it was Glioblastoma, an aggressive and fast-spreading cancer. You can read more about it from the Mayo Clinic here.

Our family is in shock. My mother is the center of our family. In an instant, we were faced with losing her.

Author's Wedding Photo. My mom is in the center and this is her children and grandchildren in this picture

Author's Photo. My mother, brother, sister and I

She is home now, and her treatments start in about a week. The treatment will be chemotherapy and radiation. She has also enrolled in a clinical trial for a device called an Optune device. You can read more about this treatment here.

I still call her every day. Her Aphasia has gotten much better. We still talk about the kids, the family, movies, and tv shows. We also talk about the logistics of her treatments. We talk about how she will fight this as long as she can. We talk about mind over matter and how strong she is. She is worried about how everyone else is dealing with this. In a moment that wasn’t my finest, I said that it was unfair that she has cancer, and I could think of so many other nasty, vile people who deserve it, not her. Her response was so my mom- “don’t wish this on anyone. No one deserves this”.

I do not know how much time we have left with my mother. She is ready to fight and has the support she needs to fight this. I believe in miracles and prayer. And my mom may live for five more years, depending on how she responds to treatment. The truth is that the prognosis for this type of cancer isn’t good and isn’t curable. It will never be in remission, and the treatment is to give her more time. I do and will cherish every phone call. Even if it is just a quick “I love you, mom”.

Do you think heaven has a phone so I could check in when she gets there?

siblingsparentsimmediate familyhumanity

About the author

J. Delaney-Howe

Husband. Father. Artist. Writer. Seeker.

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  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

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    Writing reflected the title & theme

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (10)

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  • Rick Henry14 days ago

    Best wishes to your mom, to you, and to your family. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Nova Binx2 months ago

    wishing you and the fam all the well wishes in the world

  • Sending support for you in these difficult times

  • Cathy holmes3 months ago

    I'm so sorry. You're love for Mom is obvious in this piece. Hoping you get as much time as possible with her. 🙏

  • Caroline Jane3 months ago

    Sending love. ❤

  • I am so sorry, it is a difficult moment, that changes things forever. Soak up every minute <3

  • Babs Iverson3 months ago

    Prayers for your mom and your family. Your story and your relationship with your mom is beautiful. Sending prayers & hugs!💖💕

  • Ashley McGee3 months ago

    Gosh the worst part of being an adult is no one informed me of how eventually we’ll be losing our parents. My mom had a kidney removed two months ago to battle cancer. I’m happy you are going to have more time to spend with her. Every one of us that still has our parents for any time is a gift.

  • Heather Hubler3 months ago

    My heart goes out to you! I agree that this is not a story you want to have to tell. I sincerely hope her treatment gives her time that she can spend with the people she loves. My mother passed away in January, so I felt this so much. It's wonderful that you have these stories written down to look back on :)

  • Judey Kalchik3 months ago

    This is a story you never would want to tell. The love you have for your mother shines through the entire family narrative.

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