In the beginning of 2020, my husband and I decided to bring his mom up to the Poconos to live with us. She had been diagnosed in November 2017 with stage 4 lung cancer that had metastasized to her brain; she was given 6 weeks to a year, but we knew she would fight as hard as she could. By the end of January, we had loaded up her Subaru, my car, and a small U-Haul trailer to make the move. Thankfully we had a great support system who helped us along the way and covered all the bases from things she would need to meeting us at the house to set everything up. By time we got home, everything unloaded, and bed set up for her; we were all tired and exhausted. At least we could rest easy knowing that she was home with us.
Within the first week of her moving in things started to change. She had been told they couldn’t do anymore treatment and she happily signed papers for hospice to come in everyday for comfort care. As I sat across the table while hearing the intake worker for hospice explain what to expect, how her condition had changed, what could possibly happen, etc. the world began to move in slow motion. I remember it like yesterday, the thoughts of did she really just sign a DNR, he said she could collapse at any point and there may be no warning, oh God what if the kids find her after she has collapsed or passed away… It wasn’t until the next day that all this would hit me full force and it was then that I knew our lives were going to change forever and it was just the beginning.
Over the next few weeks, we would all start to adjust to life with mom-mom living with us, but for the most part we all enjoyed having her and soaked up as much time as we could with her. Then the day came were I had to return to work and the anxiety began. At first it was just little things like worrying about her being hungry or bored… thankfully I was being eased back into working so I had smaller shifts that were only 4-6 hours at a time. When things started to go back to normal for our family, we all had seemed to be adjusting pretty well, but little did we know that it would be a brief glimpse of normalcy before the world was plunged into a worldwide pandemic.
Now I will say people had warned me that becoming a care taker was going to be hard and challenging and believe me we had our fair share of ups & downs throughout this journey. While I may not have been prepared for it to be as hard as it was at times, I truly cherish every second I got to spend with her and the privilege of being her care taker.