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Laughing in The Face of Death September 24, 2007

Posted by amberpeace in Uncategorized.

My mamaw, Shirley, is dying. My life tends to blur and I don’t exist in timelines, but she’s been fighting cancer for a while. She took an experimental drug that worked for a good bit, but then the cancer returned. The doctors had her do chemo, but that stopped working as well. The doctors also realized that the cancer had spread through her body. A mass was also in her brain now. So chemo and radiation, which had been started, was completely stopped. They were causing more harm than good.

Since that time this summer, she has deteriorated rapidly. My mother has been spending more and more time at my aunt’s house. Sunday, my aunt phoned my mother. Mother had just returned from spending Friday night until Saturday evening at my aunt’s house. Aunt Samantha needed mother to return, because mamaw was very ill.
My mother has been in Harrogate since Sunday day. My uncle, who is a nurse, flew in last night. Mother is staying in Harrogate at least until Wednesday. My mamaw is, at this point, on comfort medications. My uncle, aunt, and mother take turns tending to my mamaw. We pride ourselves on not putting family members into nursing homes. So, death is coming.

In a phone conversation with my mother, she told me a story. Yesterday, her and Aunt Samantha were trying to take care of mamaw, and move her. They were alone and needed a CNA to help them with some things, but they couldn’t get one to help out (eventually they found one). So my aunt, in her weary breaking point, just started laughing hysterically at everything. She could not stop. My mother was trying not to laugh at my aunt, and at the same time telling my mamaw that everything was okay. They really were trying their hardest. In the middle of all this, my mawaw begain to laugh. She’s very drugged and has that glassy look to her. My mamaw laughed. My mother said it was the best thing that could of happened. They knew that she knew they were trying – and she thought it was funny.

Death comes. Sudden death can be tragic. I think of my cousin from last year, Dr. Monty this spring, and the Harbs recently.

When it is like my grandmother, it’s not the death that is so hard, but the dying. Yes, we’ll miss her. I’ll sob at her funeral. However, it is the dying that causes me pain. I would her death be quick. It’s difficult to watch someone die, even slowly. When the dying can laugh – even in the very last hours – you’re reminded this isn’t the end.



1. Aaron - September 26, 2007

i’m sorry to hear all that. i really am. i’ve lost my mamaw a little over 2 years ago, so i know it’s tough. if you ever need to talk or anything you know where to find me. God bless.

2. Anonymous - September 30, 2007

very well written. I,ll just say I love you.


3. GINUSHKA! - October 1, 2007

Much love.

Just wanted to let you know I’m thinking about you. If you need anything, I’m a phone call away. You know I’ll drop everything.

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