Friday, October 11, 2013

"Mom's on the Roof and I Can't Get Her Down"


By Nancy Jill Thames
    On a facebook post, the title immediately caught my eye - "Mom's on the Roof and I Can't Get Her Down." I actually laughed at first, then wondered what could be amusing about the subject of breast cancer.
    The author, Cynthia Meyers-Hanson, recounts the year of her mother's death as she battled the dreaded disease. Sadly, her father took his life three weeks afterward. 
   With sincere candidness and amazing recounting of details surrounding each event leading up to her mother's homegoing, Hansen completely puts you in her shoes as she writes this inspiring, supernatural account. At the end of her story, I felt even more awe toward God than I did before. This memoir also better prepared me for what to expect in the event of a loved-one's terminal illness. I  highly recommend this book. Five-stars!

Here's an excerpt:  The Healing Begins

All mom wanted was a hot pretzel from the shopping mall. I went shopping for some new clothes with my husband and began insisting irrationally that we bring a pretzel to her. My husband’s mother survived cancer, and he did not realize why I was acting as if she was in her last days. It was mid-October, and Christmas was near. I had to give her whatever she wanted even if it was 9 p.m. I began verbal insistence on purchasing the pretzel.
“Look, the kids are tired. She probably isn’t even up. Let’s just go home,” My husband offered between my quickened speech.
It didn’t matter that the kids were whining or that it was past bedtime. The last thing I wanted to be told was that Mom was probably asleep already. She asked weeks ago for a hot pretzel and she’d have to wake up to get her wish.
My husband took us home, but I stayed in the car. He got out and took the children into bed one at a time because they fell asleep on the way home from the mall. Alone, I delivered the hot pretzel that by now was lukewarm. Arriving at her house, I noticed my sister’s car in the driveway. I popped through the kitchen door and clopped down the hall to my mother’s room. She had been moved to Stacey’s bed because it had a rail, and it was easier to get in and out of that bed. Margie was in the room with a very wide-awake mom.
“Pretzels,” I chirped, glad that I had brought more than one.
Stacey, Margie, and Mom followed me to the kitchen. My mother walked very slow and looked frail for her two hundred pounds. Upon entering the kitchen, I noticed she was losing her hair in clumps. The first round of chemotherapy a year ago had only thinned it, but this round was destroying her hair.
“You are going bald,” I joked.
She looked up from her seat and over her pretzel as if to say, “What’s it to you?” What she said aloud was that she needed a wig like my husband’s mother wore at Jenny’s birthday.
My mother-in-law forked over the wig as soon as I told her that Mom had made that comment. It was the cancer that had brought them closer. They kept track of each other. Many times they discussed the possibility that one or both of them may die from their cancers. However, it was suddenly a reality, and my mother-in-law shared my mother’s load whenever she could.
Every Tuesday was “chemo” day. Dad took her. She went straight to bed upon returning home. I would call and get an update. We counted down the sessions. “Okay, that makes four sessions- only eight more to go.”
This time, except for the excessive bedtime, she appeared to be handling the chemotherapy better. She was not vomiting like the last time.
“Thank God,” I announced too soon.
It was nearing November. Stacey would be turning ten, and we wanted it to be special. We decided on the children’s Polynesian Luau at Disney. I made the reservations for Stacey, a friend, my two children, and three adults. As the day approached, it became apparent that my mom would not be attending. I decided we could videotape it for her to see later but the event would proceed. I invited my sister to come using my parent’s reserved slot.
Dad began to bow out of the activity, too. It was Stacey’s birthday and neither of her parents would make it to her party. They adopted her when her natural mother, my other sister, gave her to them. She was two months old when they took over her care and by age two her adoption was final. Stacey knew no other parents. Without them joining us, the party went on as scheduled. In spite of the circumstances, the relatives attending this function enjoyed themselves. After the party, I dropped Stacey home. She hollered nasty things at mom about her sickness and her constant barfing. This child was locked in the stage of grieving called anger.
By now my mom didn’t go a day without vomiting at least one of her meals. Stacey was getting angrier with violent outbursts like that night. I left her there knowing in my heart how much my mother was hurting. It wasn’t just physical; she was dying emotionally, too. This child she had cared for was being vicious. I was old enough to know regrets, and I worried for Stacey’s well being.
The next day, she talked with me about Stacey’s rage. “Your Dad is very angry, too! Take Stacey home with you until I am better.”
My mom had been bedridden since October’s end, and it was almost December. Everyday, she was going to walk the next day. She constantly consoled herself with the idea that when she got rid of this backache she’d walk again. The pain went the length of her back and down her legs. She blamed it on her lack of exercise.
“Tomorrow, I will feel better,” she constantly hoped.
We all wished it could be true, but it became harder and harder to believe. By now, my husband kept warning me to prepare for the worst. He wanted me to get all my ducks in a row for the inevitable, death.

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Enjoy your weekend, dear readers.
See you in my books!
 ~Nancy Jill Thames
Mystery novelist Nancy Jill Thames has published Christian fiction since 2010. The author of seven books in the Jillian Bradley series, she is an award-winning blogger and listed numerous times on the Author Watch Bestseller’s List. In addition, she won first place in her church's 4th of July celebration for her chocolate cream pie.

When she isn’t plotting her next book, she spends time with her six grandchildren, tags along with her husband on business trips, and plays classical piano for her personal enjoyment. She is an active member of the Leander Writers' Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW),  CenTex Chapter-ACFW, and supports the Central Texas SPCA with a portion of her book sales. She resides with her husband in Leander, Texas.

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