We all know that our days on this Earth are numbered. For many of us, we assume that we will live long lives; hopeful that we will make it to our 80’s or 90’s or even 100’s.
But the reality is, too often our loved ones are taken too soon. Taken before they have lived a full and fruitful life. Taken before they get to meet or see their grand children grow up.
This was the case for mum.
I remember the day that we found out that mums days were numbered.
She had done another round of chemo to try and reduce the tumors in her lungs and liver. We were hopeful that it had worked and that she would be able to maintain and limit their growth in the years to come.
Our prayers were not answered on this occasion. What we had hoped to be a positive meeting with the oncologist; turned out to be a life changing one.
A sentence similar to “The chemo didn’t work. The tumors have all grown, and there are new ones” was given to us. I’ve never felt my world crumble around me more than I did in that space of a minute. In the time it took for that sentence to be delivered.
Mum had never reacted well to the treatments of chemo or radiotherapy that she endured over the years. The side effects were severe and quite frankly something that you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. When mum was told that this last treatment didn’t work and it was highly likely that it would not work moving forward; mum made the decision to stop all treatment.
She chose quality of life for her time left as opposed to quantity of life, feeling sick and revolting.
This was the day we said our final goodbye to the Oncologist. We would no longer have to see her again. It was an unusual friendship and bond that mum, dad and I had with her. It was sobering to know that we had pinned our hopes in her knowledge and skill to “cure” mum; but it was not to be. There was no magical cure for her.
As much as I wanted mum to fight; to fight for her life. The life she had with dad and her friends, the life she had with me and my kids and my brother and his family; she couldn’t. She couldn’t continue with the ravenous side effects any more than we could continue to watch her suffer through them.
As much as I wanted to be angry with her for being selfish and thinking of herself and not fighting for her or us, I couldn’t.
Quality over quantity.
Soon after this final meeting with the Oncologist, I remember we spent the Easter weekend together at Normanville.
We set out to write Mum’s Bucket List.
We now knew we were on borrowed time. We didn’t know how long the piece of string was, but we knew we had string!
This was Mum’s Bucket List:
- Holiday to Norfolk Island
- Josh Groban concert
- Kangaroo Island with brother and his family
- Mildura with my family
- Family photos
- Glam photo shoot with mum and I
- Visit the pandas at the zoo
- lots of lunches with her quilting friends
- Footy trip to Melbourne to watch the Crows
- Limestone Coast holiday with dad
- Venus Bay
So, although we knew we were on borrowed time, we made sure we did things, we created memories, we captured the times; we ticked the list off.
What is on your bucket list?