Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Last Good Day

Mama and I on the Caribbean cruise May 2013

“There's no way of knowing that your last good day is Your Last Good Day. At the time, it is just another good day.” ― John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)

What I would consider Mama's "last good day" was two years ago today: July 4, 2013. Most of the family was gathered in Austin for festivities and we had a great time as a family, as usual. One of the last conversations I remember having with my mom before her final trip to the hospital was about going to karaoke for my birthday. We talked about renting some karaoke equipment for a party. After she died, I was using her computer and saw that her last internet search was for karaoke equipment.

The weekend following July 4th was the beginning of the very end; Mama was weak and exhausted. When we took her to the hospital, after running tests it became clear that this was progression of disease and not just reactions to chemo or pain meds. As a family, we made the decision to transition into hospice care on my birthday, July 10th. She left the hospital on the 12th and died less than a week later on the 18th.

The summer of 2014 I carefully planned out to be in Europe on the Don't Postpone Joy European tour. I find I am wishing that had been an option this summer as well. It was a way to honor and celebrate life, my mother's and my own. I'm not doing anything quite that exciting this July, so it's easier to sit here remembering those incredibly difficult last days.

But her last good day, two years ago, I remember having conversations with her about the summer camp I was working for at the time. I remember her joy, as always, of being with family. I remember her conversation with my "cousin" (not by blood but basically) Timothy about being strong in his faith and continuing his journey to greatness beginning college that fall. I remember her smile.

So despite the fact that the memories of July 2013 are largely painful, today I am trying to focus on Mama's last good day. A day when the cancer was still growing and giving her pain, but she was still able to celebrate being alive and her motto: don't postpone joy. The last good day before the very end and one that I am grateful I could share with her.

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