When I was a kid, my mom’s favorite coffee mug featured a cat with a kitten in its pouch.
In retrospect, it was kind of weird.
But it was her mug, she used it all the time, and I remember how upset we all were the day it broke. My mom might have briefly considered shedding a single tear – which is as close to crying as my mom gets.
I thought it was a one-off, irreplaceable. But fast-forward 30 or so years, and thanks to the magic of the internet, I learned that the cat with the pouch was a Thing.
And thanks to the magic of eBay, I learned I could replace my mom’s favorite mug. Shazam!
I ordered it right before Easter, and on that Saturday a mug-sized package arrived at my doorstep.
I opened the box, sat down on my steps, and cried. The package did not contain my Momcat mug. It was instead from hospice, and it contained medications we need to have on hand to keep my mom comfortable.
Some time between her MRI on December 20 and her MRI on April 3, mom’s glioblastoma returned with a vengeance, in multiple locations throughout her brain. She was offered chemotherapy as a palliative care measure, but the risks outweighed the benefits. We decided to begin hospice services.
So that’s what I’ve been up to for the last month and a half. And what I’ll be up to for the next few months. I joke that my life has been canceled until further notice, but the truth is that my life has constricted, focused around one goal – to give my mother as many good days as possible as her life comes to a close.
It is hard.
It is a privilege.
We’ve stocked up on Chocolate Trinity Ice Cream from Publix (her favorite), a friend let me borrow all five seasons of Designing Women, and Jason is watching the NBA playoffs with her. Her neighbors from Jacksonville brought over her bird feeder, which she monitors closely. She does not report any pain.
The mug did arrive eventually, and she adores it.