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Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

Lost my 82-year old Mother on Thursday afternoon. She'd battled MS for 35 years, beginning with a game left leg, then this, and then also that, leading to her being unable to care for herself for the last 8 years. Early in the week she developed a sinus issue, went to the hospital for a night's stay, and the next day release her, and some two-hours later she died without any sign of struggle. Sitting in her wheelchair, she just drooped over, Dad said, and their Caregiver noticed she wasn't breathing when she tried to straighten Mom up, and was without pulse. It's like she got home, said- okay, I'm going to sleep now- and died.

I know this is about MS, and not C, but perhaps the battle she fought could help someone. I know it sure helped me. Not once during tx would I have traded places with her. I had hope of beating the one in the ring with me. Mom did not. And thru it all she never really complained, or griped about what life had dealt her with MS, though she did get frustrated by the extreme limitations those last few years. Trying to pick up the phone to answer a call became an impossible task, like holding a pen and being able to write anything, or using a knife to cut-up food, etc., etc...And every struggle to accomplish some difficult challenge of movement with her hands or legs was followed by a couple minutes of rest, and then on to the next difficult task, without gripe...And even up to the end, there she was on her recliner, or in the wheelchair, smiling, and asking me how I'm feeling in a way that told me she truly wanted to know. And every time I asked her how she's doing, without failure, she'd answer, "Well, you know, I just might make it," to which I'd typically reply, "I know you will, Mom." This one, folks, is Joe Frazier's best body shot landing square, and leaving broken ribs inside me.

I ask that on Tuesday, the day Mom's body is placed in it's final resting place, as many of you who read this will just say the Lord's Prayer, followed by the name, "Mary." The Lord will know which Mary you're referring to.

kcass

osmotar's picture
osmotar
Posts: 953
Joined: Jul 2011

Sorry for you loss, blessings for your Mom on her next journey.

Linda

Billie67's picture
Billie67
Posts: 834
Joined: Jul 2012

I'm so sorry for the loss of your mother. It sounds like she bravely fought this for some time and made the best out of it all. I can hear in your words the love you feel for her. I will for sure be saying a prayer on Tuesday for both of you. I am happy for you that you got to spend so many years with her, many don't get that time. My mom died when I was 11.
I'm sorry again for your loss.
Billie

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3669
Joined: Mar 2012

I am so sorry for your loss....and fully understand your statement about Joe Frazier giving you his best body shot. Your mom sounds like a strong and gracious lady, and I'll feel priveledged saying the Lord's Prayer on Tuesday.

Rest in peace, Mary....Hugs to you, Kent.

p

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

Phrannie. Truly does mean a lot to me, and to Mom. And, Billie, I also thank you, and am sorry for your loss long ago, and when you were so young. Truly sorry.

kcass

CivilMatt's picture
CivilMatt
Posts: 2903
Joined: May 2012

Dear Kent,

I am so sorry to read about the loss of your Mother, she sounded like a truly wonderful person and the kind of Mom everyone should have.

Bless you and your family.

Matt

Tim6003's picture
Tim6003
Posts: 1490
Joined: Nov 2011

I'm sorry for the loss of your mother. I have set my cell phone reminder for Tuesday. I will certainly say a prayer for your mother, Mary.

Whispered a prayer for your comfort as well as your Dad, family just before posting this.

Best,

Tim

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8062
Joined: Sep 2009

Kent, I'm very sorry to hear the loss of you Mother....

She was a great Mother, and you are the product...a great son.

She will surely be lifted in our prayers.

Peace & Blessings my friend,
John

fisrpotpe's picture
fisrpotpe
Posts: 1330
Joined: Aug 2010

So sad to hear the loss of your Mom. Mothers have a special place in our hearts that no one can take away.

prayers going out for you and the rest of the family.

john

Grandmax4's picture
Grandmax4
Posts: 583
Joined: Dec 2011

dwell in the House of the Lord forever and ever~~~~what a fantastic promise, please accept my deepest sympathy on the loss of your Mom, Mary. Blessings,love, and peace to you and your family, I will be honored to pray The Lords Prayer

katenorwood
Posts: 1818
Joined: May 2012

Kent,
I am so deeply touched by the love I read in your post. And I am so very sorry for the loss of your much loved Mother. I will definatly being saying the prayer on Tuesday. My Mother's name was Mary too. Many warm thoughts sent out to your Father, yourself and all family members. Katie

Noellesmom
Posts: 1291
Joined: Aug 2010

Kent, I am sorry to hear about your mother and her struggles and lift praises for her peace now.

My 29 year old daughter, Robbie Leigh, received a confirmed diagnosis of aggressive MS two weeks ago and has had her first round of steroids for optic neuritis. We are beginning this journey together and I hope all the work with people like your mother will be used to help Robbie Leigh.

I will remember Mary on Tuesday and many days in the future, I am sure.

What a blessing our mothers are, Kent.

Tonsil Dad's picture
Tonsil Dad
Posts: 488
Joined: Dec 2011

Kent, my heart goes out to you filled with prayers for the loss
of your mother Mary. She sounded like a wonderful strong woman.
You bet we will say the Lord's prayer on Tuesday for her.
Condolences and sympathy for you and your family.

God bless
Tonsil dad,

Dan.

Matt29's picture
Matt29
Posts: 62
Joined: Apr 2012

so sorry for your losses.

D Lewis's picture
D Lewis
Posts: 1523
Joined: Jan 2010

So very sorry for your tremendous loss. What a comfort and inspiration your mother must have been for you. And what a comfort and inspiration you must have been for her. I'm sure she was very very proud of the way you fought your battles at the same time she was fighting hers. I will be holding you in my thoughts on Tuesday.

Deb

luv4lacrosse's picture
luv4lacrosse
Posts: 1385
Joined: Jul 2010

Kent, so sorry to hear about your mother.

Prayers and condolences from my family to yours.

Mike

hawk711's picture
hawk711
Posts: 525
Joined: Jan 2010

So Sorry for your loss. I lost my mom at age 23 to cancer. I know what you are feeling, but I can tell that time helps. You don't forget, but you don't think about it every day like you probably are now.....take care my friend.
Steve

ditto1
Posts: 630
Joined: Mar 2012

you Kent. Moms are so special sounds like God gave you a great mom. Peace be with you and your family.

NoDuck
Posts: 132
Joined: May 2012

For strength, for comfort, for fond memories of a wonderful, strong lady who produced a wonderful, strong man.

Deb and Dale

hwt's picture
hwt
Posts: 1881
Joined: Jun 2012

Prayers are with you and your family.

Vikeman10
Posts: 62
Joined: Jul 2012

Kent,
My thoughts and prayers are with you at this tough time. I lost my mother to MS on my 30th birthday so always will remember her. My mom was very similar and never once complained about anything she enjoyed life everyday. She enjoyed the little things like birds chirping and the smell of flowers in our yard and had more faith than anyone I knew. I will say the Lord's Prayer for Mary.

Randy

Greg53's picture
Greg53
Posts: 830
Joined: Apr 2010

Kent,

Postive thoughts and energy coming your way, my Friend!

I hope you don't mind this long post, but just this morning I received the following from a good friend, as I am travelling down a similar path as you have recently, only this is with my Dad. I thought of you several times while reading it this morning. This put a smile on my face as well as putting a couple of tears in my eyes.

My best to you Kent

Greg

A Life Without Left Turns
By Michael Gartner
(USA Today – 6/15/06)

My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car.

He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

"In those days," he told me when he was in his 90s, "to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it."

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in:
"Oh, baloney!" she said. "He hit a horse."

"Well," my father said, "there was that, too."

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford -- but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines, would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we'd ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. "No one in the family drives," my mother would explain, and that was that.

But, sometimes, my father would say, "But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we'll get one." It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16 first.

But, sure enough, my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown...

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn't drive, it more or less became my brother's car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it didn't make sense to my mother...

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father's idea. "Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?" I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage.
(Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin's Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home.

If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests "Father Fast" and "Father Slow."

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: "The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored."

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, "Do you want to know the secret of a long life?"

"I guess so," I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

"No left turns," he said.

"What?" I asked.

"No left turns," he repeated. "Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic.

As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn."

"What?" I said again.

"No left turns," he said. "Think about it... Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot safer. So we always make three rights."

"You're kidding!" I said, and I turned to my mother for support.
"No," she said, "your father is right. We make three rights. It works."
But then she added: "Except when your father loses count."

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.
"Loses count?" I asked.

"Yes," my father admitted, "that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again."

I couldn't resist. "Do you ever go for 11?" I asked.

"No," he said " If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week."
My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily -- he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising -- and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, "You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred." At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, "You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer."

"You're probably right," I said.

"Why would you say that?" He countered, somewhat irritated.

"Because you're 102 years old," I said.

"Yes," he said, "you're right." He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night.

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said:
"I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet"

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:
"I want you to know," he said, clearly and lucidly, "that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have."

A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.

I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life,
Or because he quit taking left turns.

(Michael Gartner has been editor of newspapers large and small and president of NBC News. In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.)

Pumakitty's picture
Pumakitty
Posts: 653
Joined: Mar 2010

I am so sorry for your loss. I can not imagine your pain. I will be thinking of you all day.

Kathy

jim and i's picture
jim and i
Posts: 1591
Joined: May 2011

Kent, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I can't imagine how heart breaking that must be. I have a sister who is dealing with early stage MS. I pray she has the same courage and strengthas your mother. I pray you can find peace and comfort in the arms of our Lord.

Debbie

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

everyone- Greg, Steve, Deb, Mike, John- to everyone: I thank you. She looked at rest, though I saw signs of the battle she's waged for so many years. Rest In Peace with the Lord, Mom. Thank you all, again.

Believe

kcass

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2194
Joined: Nov 2009

Very sorry for your loss, Kent. I know what it's like to lose a loving Mother Mary who has had to struggle. Luckily for my mother, hers was not MS. Like you, I learned from my mother that you simply have to carry on - even when it's hard - even when it hurts. I'm asking for help for you and yours.

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