Doesn’t everyone have perfect attendace in school?

During my freshman year of high school my mother was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. She knew she had the cyst in December (probably earlier) but waited until February to do anything about it. She had just gotten a new job and waited until her health insurance kicked. She had surgery almost immediately and was in the hospital for a week. I even wrote a paper about it. Anyway, she did chemo throughout the summer etc…

Tom and Mom Cropped

Tom and Mom (I was the first grandchild and my grandfather felt being called grandpa made him seem old.  I was supposed to call him Mr. Tom but I wasn’t too good with my r’s…so he was always Tom).  

That summer I turned 15. July 30, 1991. She went in for another surgery on July 31, 1991. I thought this time they would get everything. They would get rid of the cancer. But that was not the case. She finally came home from the hospital around the end of August I think. When she came home I thought it was going to be great. No one told me however that she was essentially coming home to die. When I came home from school there was a hospital bed where the dining room table used to be and my 70 year old grandmother was feeding her 42 year old daughter. It was awful. She died Thursday September 26, 1991. It was early evening. I remember I was upstairs on my bed with my friend Kara doing our chemistry homework. My uncle Bobby came upstairs to tell me my mother had opened her eyes. I ran downstairs. My uncles from Florida and Texas had flown up, my uncle Bobby from across the street was there, my grandparents were there, my aunt Alex was there. She moved her head from side to side. Her face sunken- in. Her skin was pasty. Her mouth was open as if she was trying to speak. I remember it quite vividly. Finally her eyes closed and they never opened again. My uncle Frank said, “I think she’s gone.” That was it. It was peaceful. All of us standing around her bed. I was on her left side standing next to my uncle Bobby. I broke down on his shoulder.

My grandfather was a physician so he knew to make sure her jaw didn’t drop from rigamortis. He took one of her scarves and tied it around her head. So there she was…for several hours it seemed…dead in the dining room with a peach scarf around her head to hold her jaw in place. I can’t really remember them taking her body away. I slept in my own bed that night. I went to school the next day. I had perfect attendance that year at school. Her visitation was on Saturday and her funeral on a Sunday. I went to school on Monday.


Mom, Grandma and Tom. This was us moving into our new home after the divorce from my father 🙂


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