Monday, March 23, 2015

The Month of March

As a child, the month of March was a good month. Not much different than the others, but it held the day of my birth and the first day of spring. St. Patrick’s Day was there, but we did little more to wear something green to celebrate.
On my birthday, Mom would bake my favorite cake. It changed from year to year, so she would always ask. As she grew older, the cake firmly entrenched in her mind was a carrot cake with maple icing. It was a cake that I liked, so no problem. I believe that it was the earliest onset of her Alzheimer’s disease, because several years later, she would bake an angel food cake and top it with chocolate icing. That was my brother, Ken’s favorite. At first, I tried to correct her, but once it reoccurred for several years I gave up and my brother got two cakes a year. Angel food is one of my least favorite cakes to this day.
My feelings to the month of March progressed from the happiness of celebrating spring and my birthday to a skeptical wariness. I no longer looked forward to celebrating a date that made me age. Other things occurred that made March a month to avoid. My wife, Cindy and I were married for 27 years.
She was suffering through “another upper respiratory” ailment. At least once per year, she had a case of cold symptoms and laryngitis. This time it became much worse and I forced her to go to the hospital. When the tests came back, it was thought that she had leukemia because of her high white blood cell count. She was transferred to a larger hospital for evaluation.
She was still short of breath and couldn’t lay flat for the CT, so she was intubated. She never came off the machine. The scan showed that cancer had invaded nearly every organ in her body. The doctors decided to transfer her to Pittsburgh. The invasion had gone too far. From the time I took her to be seen in the emergency room until she died, was ten days. She never complained of pain, because ovarian cancer was and still is “the silent killer.” March 24 was the day of her passing.

By this time, my mom had to be put into a nursing home. Her Alzheimer’s had progressed. She threatened my dad with a serving fork when he tried to help her bathe. She was always a clean person, but now tried to avoid such things. We kids were still working and it soon became too much for Dad to handle. We would visit her, but it got to the point that she didn’t recognize us progressing to a time where she refused to eat. She died on the third anniversary of my wife’s passing, March 24.

Tomorrow will be the thirteenth anniversary of her death and the tenth year for my mom. We all still miss you.

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