my mom passed away a week ago after a ten-year wrassle with breast cancer.
Stephen Fry, who amongst many things is an outspoken atheist, once said that if introduced to God Himself, the first thing he'd ask is, 'Kids and puppies getting cancer, what's up with that?' myself, I think I'd ask why things like breasts and prostates seem so determined to self-destruct.
I had always told Mom that if anyone could out-stubborn cancer, it would be her. I guess even Ukrainian stubbornness can only go so far. I'm pretty sure she could've bored holes in solid rock with it, though, if she'd needed to.
the services were Thursday, in a packed chapel, with the Girl Guides forming an honour guard to see Mom and the family in and out. I don't know that it's the right word to use for a funeral, ever, but 'beautiful' really is the word I'd use for it.
it's been a whirlwind since then. one minute you're making sure all the great-aunts get their hugs, and the next minute you're discussing the very loveless details of death certificates and whether you'll need twenty or thirty copies made.
the family has by and large departed at this point (the nearest to where Mom lived was two hours away; the furthest was my brother in Montreal) and so now it's a matter of my settling her affairs and deciding which bits and bobs around the house are for keeping. her sisters all wanted something of hers to remember her by, and were very tentative about asking in fear of requesting something I wanted for myself, but I was pretty confident our wishes wouldn't intersect -- for years I've had my eye on a wooden spoon that she received as a shower gift over 40 years ago. it was a part of practically everything ever cooked or baked by her, and cracked my brother's and my ass on many occasions. if there was anything in her home that she'd haunt, I'm pretty sure that'd be it.
I'm not sure where she is now, but wherever it is, it's not on chemo, feeling horrible in the short term to wring a few more months out in the longer term, and for me, knowing that is enough.
love you, Mom. if you're chilling out with Grandpa now, I know you're both having a laugh that both your eulogies mentioned your 'colourful' language -- and swearing up a storm in the process.