The last Christmas


Tonight I will be celebrating Christmas eve with my family, a boisterous bunch of 30 or so cousins, aunts and uncles, nieces, and of course my husband, my brother and my parents. I believe that this is probably the last Christmas that I will have with my mother. Everyone will be here again next year but her. All I can think is how could it really be Christmas if the person I love the most won't be with me? My mother told me that I said my first word on my first Christmas morning. She awoke to hear me crying "Mama!" Every one of my 28, and today 29, Christmases I have celebrated not just with my mom, but for my mom. How can this happiest of holidays ever be happy for me again?


It has been about a month since my mom's last chemo session. The irinotecan appears to work for countering her cancer, but even a 30% dose is too much for her body to bear. She has been on Ritalin the past couple of weeks and that has lifted her spirits enough so that she's able to eat, maybe not as much as she should but we take what we can get. She is seeing her oncologist again on Monday to evaluate when she's strong enough to start Stivarga (regorafenib). From my research here and elsewhere I know not to hope for too much from this, likely her last, treatment. I've looked for clinical trials for which she might be eligible but it seems she's too far advanced for any. I don't tell her any of this of course. Last Sunday she said to me, For the first time in my life I am afraid." I tried to give her encouragement and hope , but her doctors have spoken frankly to her so we all know what's coming. We wonder now, how many months?


This morning I awoke from a dream in which my mother died. Only my father and I were there. A cheerful start to Christmas. Eve morning, as I said to my husband.


Thank you all for being here for me. It means so much that I can share stories like this with caring people who understand.


  • mukamom
    mukamom Member Posts: 402
    I know

    it is hard to imagine Christmas without your mom.  I used to be consumed with thoughts of "this will be the last <insert occaision>. This time next year I will be alone".  I just try, now, to make the most of our time together, make good memories for both Robert and myself, 'cause who knows, this might be MY last Christmas on earth and so Robert can have those memories.  It takes work not to let the what ifs overwhelm your emotions.

    Try to enjoy your Christmas with your big, wonderful family!  It's just me and Robert this year, and he's not feeling well from his first FOLFOX treatment yesterday.

    Merry Christmas!!





  • UncleBuddy
    UncleBuddy Member Posts: 1,019 Member
    Merry Christmas!

    Enjoy the time you have together. It's odd how things work sometimes, so you really don't know what will happen. Sometimes the chemo meds slow things down and give us more time with our loved ones. I remember back in 2000 my brother was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (he is stage 4 rectal cancer now) and my sister, who is a nurse, told us he was in such bad shape, he probably wouldn't make it through the year. Here we are 14 years later. The NHL went into remission (cured?) but now he is fighting rectal cancer. He's a fighter, so I don't count him out. The stats look miserable, but I've seen a lot of people on here who are stage 4 and are hanging in there. Just enjoy today and don't worry about tomorrow. Like I tell my brother, none of us have expiration dates stamped on the bottom of our feet. We just have to live a good life with what we're given.

    Enjoy the holidays with your family.


  • mbeaulieu
    mbeaulieu Member Posts: 16
    I know the feeling

     You are feeling how I felt last year and unfortunately I was right :(  I pray that you have many more Christmas's to come with your mom.  Enjoy your time with your mom and live in the moment with her.  I sure will and am already missing mine this year so please enjoy it for those of us who cannot.




  • Helen321
    Helen321 Member Posts: 1,459 Member
    Hi, This is a hard one.  The

    Hi, This is a hard one.  The best thing I can say is that as a mom, we just want you to be okay.  That's our biggest fear, that our kids will not be okay.  We don't want to think of you sad and crying so just do your best today and always remember life is worth living!  Even in the sad moments, cry it out, do the best you can and then try to find a happy place even if only for a short time each day.  

  • jen2012
    jen2012 Member Posts: 1,607 Member
    Life sure isn't easy.  Last

    Life sure isn't easy.  Last year my husband got home from the hospital days before Christmas.  I hardly remember it, except it was pretty horrible.  He couldn't sit up at the table for more than a few minutes.  I didn't shop for anyone, except a few things for the kids,  that was my last Christmas with my mom...I didn't know that at the time.  I feel bad that I didn't even buy her anythong or appreciate the day with her.  Here we are this year without her and I'm sad she isn't with us, yet thankful my husband still is.  We can't not celebrate the fact that we are still a family, because we don't know what will happen in the next any of us.   I mostly feel bad for my kids, the last years have not been easy for them and they are struggling.  I wonder how we got here...

    I can tell you I strongly feel my mom is still with me.  there have been so many weird things that have happened since she died in the fall, that it's hard for me to not believe she is watching over and trying to help me through,  I hope no matter what happens with your. Mom you always feel that connection.


    try to just enjoy the days and not think of them as the is funny, you just never know.  I hope your mom is feeling well enough to celebrate and enjoy all of you.


    peace and prayers to your family.  I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

  • Momof2plusteentwins
    Momof2plusteentwins Member Posts: 509 Member
    It must be hard

    My daughter in law lost her mom on Monday, 52 years old healthy.  She had gastric bypass surgery Dec 11th, went back to work the next week and was fine.  On Saturday morning she couldn't even get out of bed.  Ambulance took her to hospital and she died Monday morning 4:20 am December 22.  I spent Thanksgiving with her at my sons house and she was talking about running a marathon next year.  She weighed 170. Unbelievable.  My daughter in law is a RN and didn't know her mom was having this elective surgery.  Just sad.  She had numerous blood clots. Totally unexpected.  Is it better to know you are dying, like us from cancer or totally unexpected?

  • Lovekitties
    Lovekitties Member Posts: 3,364 Member

    Each of us has an unknown number of days on this earth.  The best we can do is make the best of each of them.

    For many who have been diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease, it is a wakeup call to never leave anything important undone.

    Worry about what the future holds dims the light of the day you have.  Count each day as a blessing. 

    Marie who loves kitties

  • marbleotis
    marbleotis Member Posts: 720 Member
    Take Each Day

    cancer takes alot.  Take each day and fill it with love and joy.  No one cancer or not - knows their timeline.

    Make memories, cancer cannot touch them.

  • danker
    danker Member Posts: 1,276 Member


    Each of us has an unknown number of days on this earth.  The best we can do is make the best of each of them.

    For many who have been diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease, it is a wakeup call to never leave anything important undone.

    Worry about what the future holds dims the light of the day you have.  Count each day as a blessing. 

    Marie who loves kitties


    Most people have no idea of how fragile life is!!! We cancer survivers should be more aware that evry day is indeed a blessing, and that one of these will be our last.   CARPE DIEM !!!

  • Akroger
    Akroger Member Posts: 88
    Thank you everyone

    Thank you for all your kind, supportive posts. It was a bittersweet Christmas, wonderful to be with my mother and able to help her, but wrenching because of how weak and dependent on others for help she was, even to just get up a few steps to get into my cousin's house, where the party was held. The best part of Christmas eve for me was her reaction to the gift I got her, a baby doll that reminds me of how I looked when I was around 2 years old. 

    The past few weeks have been very emotional ones for a lot of reasons. My mom's always been quite the firecracker, and I got that from her myself, so there's been some shouting too, because love hurts. It's the kind of relationship we've always had, and I am going to fight for us to keep it for as long as we both can.

  • TheLadySkye
    TheLadySkye Member Posts: 203 Member
    *hugs you tightly*
    I'm so

    *hugs you tightly*

    I'm so sorry you and your family are going through this.  My thoughts and prayers are with you all.