By: Brittany Smith
This quarantine was a difficult time for me and my family. On March 27, 2020, we found out my mom was sick. She had metastasis lung cancer. A month before that, on February 17, my mom went to Warren General Hospital and they diagnosed her with gastritis, which is where the stomach lining is inflamed, without doing any tests on her, and it cost her five weeks of her life. When she wasn’t getting better and was getting worse, my dad and I decided to take her to my aunt’s house in New Oxford, Pa so she could get checked out at Havover hospital. That’s where everything changed.
When we found out she was sick, it was a difficult time because nobody was allowed in the hospital with her and she got very lonely. The first time she was in the hospital, she had to stay there for six days by herself. After that, she was good for a couple days but then had to go back to the hospital and have her first surgery. That surgery was scary, and they didn’t know if she would make it through.
I got a call from her and I’ll never forget it. She told me how much she loved me and how she’s so proud of me and who I’m becoming. She made it through that surgery, and we thought she was going to make it through everything. My mom got out of the hospital a couple days later and we talked about when she would start chemo. She wasn’t going to start for another week, so we all just hung out with her a lot because we knew she would be exhausted after she started it. I would spend every minute with her that I could, and she even had a little bell she would ring if she needed help with something.
My mom went to the doctors on April 14 and they told her that she would start her chemo treatment the next day after she got her mediport, which is a little round thing that goes in your body so the doctors can give the chemo shot there. The mediport is a better way to administer the medicine, as it helps to save veins from being poked so much with a needle. The next day, my mom’s appointment to get the mediport was at 10 AM. I got up early with her to help get her ready. Before she left that morning, she said “I love you.” I didn’t know those were going to be the last words she said to me.
I remember being in my cousin’s room and hearing my other cousin run out of his room, telling his dad my aunt was on the phone and that it was an emergency. I knew something had happened. The next thing I know, my uncle is in my cousin’s room telling me I have to go to the hospital to say goodbye. This was very scary because my dad was back home and it’s a four and a half hour drive. When I got there, my aunt told me they had her on comfort measures. At about 11 PM, my dad finally got there. A little after 11, I decided I better go home because it was all overwhelming and they said I could come back in the morning.
At 11:39 PM April 15, 2020, I lost my mom. I miss her so much, but I still have my dad. Now it’s just me and him in this big world.