Saturday, July 26, 2008

Please Come to Boston ...

It has been 9 years since Bo and I moved from Boston. We lived in Arlington (a suburb just outside Boston) for 1.5 years while I did my post doc. I've always liked this Dave Loggins song; thought I'd put a YouTube link to it here:

I go to Boston this week for a conference. While I'm looking forward to going to the conference, seeing old friends, and being back in Boston, I'm finding that it is stirring up a lot of memories in me. You see, it was 10 years ago in late July when my mother was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. Bo and I were just getting ready to move to Baltimore; in fact, he was already there having started a new job a few weeks before we were to officially move there.

I still remember the call that evening from one of my aunts; I knew something must have been wrong because she never called me. We always heard about what was going on with each other through my mother, and we visited when I was home in NC. She called and said my mother was in the hospital and they thought she had cancer. I remember feeling like a vice was gripping my heart when she said those words.

My mother and I were very close; before we moved to Boston we talked on the phone about every day and I'd often see she and my father several times a week. My mother took care of my father who had been bedridden from a series of strokes.

I flew home the next day and went straight to the hospital. I remember thinking that this couldn't be happening. My father, who was in such poor health, should be the one in the hospital. Not my mother, the woman who had spent her life caring for other people... The next months went by in a blur with us trying to help take care of my parents from afar, coordinating efforts by others, and trying to spend as much time with my parents as is possible when 2 people have just started new jobs. How I wish I'd taken some sort of leave that year, but with a new job in academia I was oblivious as to that even being an option.

After so bravely battling cancer, my dear mother passed away less than 8 months later. While I know that at the time taking the post doc was a good thing for me to do, and it was a good experience for Bo and I to live in Boston during that time, I can't help thinking that I spent the last 2 years of my mother's life living 13 hours away and only getting to see her a few times per year. It still makes me sad to this day thinking about it.

I encourage you all to enjoy the moments you have with your loved ones; you never know when you won't have those opportunities . . .

1 comment:

Katherine Moak said...

I just read this post, and I have to tell you that you are a tremendous support to me. After learning that you, too, had lost your mother at a young age (I know that people lose parents even in their teenage years, but I think that losing a parent in our 30s is tough too), you gave me hope. I see that you continue to enjoy your life while still remembering your mom.