Monday, October 03, 2005

The End of Mom's Recovery

Brian here. I’m sorry to have to write that Mom passed away the afternoon of Saturday, October 1. She died peacefully and painlessly with family and friends, including my sisters and me. She was 66.

It seems odd to say that Mom’s death came as a surprise but, until even hours before the end, we and her physicians always saw a reasonable path to recovery. In fact, I’d flown to southern California just three days earlier to help move furniture in preparation for her return home from the hospital. But her body had simply had enough.

As far as we know, Mom died free of cancer. She beat it. However, she took steroids to control brain inflammation caused by the brain tumor and its radiation treatment. Administered in high doses over a long time, they were as damaging to her body as cancer would have been. The steroids had to be reduced, renewed inflammation put pressure on unexpected parts of her brain, and the end came quickly.

Mom never regretted moving to Hollywood. Despite her struggle in recent months, I don’t think I ever saw her happier living anywhere else. She loved her new neighborhood: the brilliant bougainvillea spilling over her back fence, the giant avocado tree next door that dropped guacamole hailstones into her yard, the towering palm at the curb, the yellow curry dish from the Thai restaurant around the corner. This was where she needed to be.

The publication of “Mom’s Cancer” will go ahead. Mom always sought purpose in her life and, in recent months, her suffering. She shared in the production of “Mom’s Cancer”: the drafts, proofs, correspondence with my publisher and the public. She wrote the book’s Afterword. Nothing made Mom more proud or happy than hearing from readers who said her story had helped them or that they’d quit smoking because of her. She told me she thought she’d found her purpose after all. I didn’t disagree.

She lived and died well. I will miss making new memories with her.


At 10:57 PM, Blogger Jeannette said...

My prayers are with you and your sisters during this difficult time. Your mother was so lucky to have been surrounded by and cared for by such loving and generous children. You are equally lucky to have learned how to love from a great role model. You really helped her to create a legacy and make sense out of her suffering. I hope the happy, pain free moments and the sound of her laughter flood your memory and comfort you always.

At 12:35 AM, Blogger Lorna said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. I kept re-reading this post, hoping I'd just read it wrong.

My thoughts and love are with your family right now. Mom's story touched so many people - and you're still getting started. What an incredible legacy - and an amazing family.

Thank you so much for sharing this story.

At 6:10 AM, Blogger Lynne said...

Lis, remember to look for fishies. (like with Caliope)

At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss. My mother passed away in 1997 and when I stumbled onto this website, I kinda felt a kinship with her, with you.

Live free of pain now, Mutti. You're flying with the angels.

At 9:07 PM, Anonymous Lunch Money said...

I have been following Moms' story since 2004 when I was care giver for and life Partner of Diane as she fought her battle against Leiomyosarcoma. I am at a loss for the words to express how sad I am at her passing. She was so kind in the words she wrote to me after Dianes death---I have to believe that there is a special place for her now.

My prayers of comfort to all who knew and loved her. Tonight I lit a candle in her memory:

Steve aka Lunchmoney,
Partner of Diane

At 5:21 AM, Blogger G! said...

our prayers go out to you snd your sisters. and "mom" of course.

i remain grateful that she took time out to answer some musings even from a half a world away.

i will forever be touched by her story.

be strong

At 8:10 PM, Anonymous leslie said...

I'm sorry to read of her passing. I wrote Brian months ago when my mother was also fighting lung cancer. She lost her fight last spring and I was subsequently very moved by Mom's Cancer and reading her site thereafter. She was a brave and gallant lady whose courage touched many.

At 1:26 PM, Blogger Cookie said...

I am so very, very sorry. You all and your mom showed such extraordinary strength and courage throughout all of this --- all of you have truly been an inspiration.

I wish there were more I culd say or do. Just know how much all of you did for so many of us by sharing your mom and her story.

At 8:17 AM, Blogger Dee said...

I hope smokers will be awakened and inspired by "Mom's Cancer". This could be any of us and our families would be mourning the hole we would leave in our kids' and grandkids' lives!

This is REAL, people. I quit 7 months ago after smoking for 43 years and I'm really praying that my lungs start to heal and that I don't end up with lung cancer or emphysema even after quitting!

Please stop smoking and allow "Mom" to look down and see the amazing good she has done by sharing her story!

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Minerva said...

Thinking of you and your amazing mother...


At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry. I read your story when it came up for Eisners and it was beautiful. I'm sorry it had to end this way. I can't imagine anyone doing anything more for their loved one than you and your sisters did for your mother. Thank you for your inspiration.


At 5:09 PM, Blogger Eva Whitley said...

I've been too busy to keep up with my favorite blogs and had a few minutes to check, only to get such sad news. I feel for you. It's rough to lose someone you're close to. Give Kid Sis and Mom Sis a hug from me, and skritch Hero for me. Mom's struggle was inspiring. I'm so sorry for you all.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger BrianFies said...

Eva, Thanks very much. I was very moved by your struggles in Jack's final days and thought of you often. Best wishes to you and your family.

At 12:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a smoker if you do not care about yourself its fine but what about your family? The environmental cigarette smoke can lead to passive smoking which may result in risk of lung cancer, heart disease, miscarriages and birth defects, developing asthma in children and adults, ear infections, aggravated asthma, allergies, and other conditions like learning difficulty in children and lung infection.


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