Another Valentine’s Day, another break in my heart.

To most, Valentine’s Day is the epitome of romance. My husband does a great job of trying to make it special for me, but unfortunately 6 yrs ago, it was changed forever for me (and all the other people who loved my Mother). As my mother was vigorously battling her 2nd battle with breast cancer, and not many around her knew she was sick, she started on her very quick down slide. Her doctor, who had been very aggressive with her care, found a clinical trial for her at Johns Hopkins and it looked so promising. Not to cure her, but to buy her more of the precious time she so desperately wanted. We all so desperately wanted. February 9th, the day she was supposed to go for her entry to the Hopkins trial, she felt ‘funny’, and her oncologist recommended for her to come to GBMC (where he was) rather than going to Hopkins, so she could still preserve her place in the trial. He admitted her for being in kidney failure. I got the call @ 1pm and headed straight to the hospital, calling my sister first, then my husband. There was not a single positive thought going through my head. For those who know me well, that is pretty unusual. I’m a pretty upbeat person. I got to the hospital, and helped her ‘gown up’ and the first words out of her mouth were “I want to see my boys”. Just those words made me want to cry. It was like she knew she was going, and she wanted to say goodbye, but she was still in fighter mode. I called Brad and he ran right away and picked up the boys (Dylan from school & Jared from pre-school). While this was happening, the Doctor shows up and informs us that she was going to be moved up to the PICU later, and asked what forms of resuscitation we should do. I went to pieces. I didn’t want to hear that, I wasn’t ready, and the words felt cruel. I called a close friend who came to be there until Brad came there with the boys & stayed to be there with them until someone could be there to take them home for the night.

She went up and down for days, her mental state slipping into and out of ‘herself’. Finally on Saturday, Feb 12th, they started talking about moving her to a step down unit, her kidneys looked good. Saturday night though, she had a bad night. My sister stayed overnight with her, and she was agitated and wanted out of bed, wasn’t happy, and was very agitated. The cancer patient’s classic “last rally”. Sunday she was clearly out of sorts. My father was by her side, and he could see it was upsetting to me by dinnertime. I went home with the same order to call with any changes. Overnight, she pulled out her chest tubes and then went into a coma. My father called me at 5:30am and told me to come down, she had a bad night. That was Valentines Day. I had all my cards in my purse. When I got down there, the docs on call told us they were prepping to move her to ICU & her oncologist would talk to us when we got up there. They moved her about 9:30am, got her settled in somewhat, and then they sent my Father & I to go get lunch. I KNEW, KNEW that was so the Oncologist had time to get up there. We had our lunch, which neither of us ate, and then went to the ICU where the doc said the words we knew he would say, and we didn’t want to hear, “I’m sorry, there is nothing more we can do. It is just a matter of time now.” So very surreal. We spent the afternoon making those horrible phonecalls to tell people (most didn’t know she was ill), and reading the valentines we had bought for each other. Lots of hugs, lots of tears. The chaplain was wonderful in guiding us through saying goodbye. The morning of the 15th, my Father started paperwork for Hospice care, and several of my Mom’s close work friends drop by. At 2:32pm she took her last breath, with my Father, my sister & myself holding her hands.

So the day when hearts should be so full, is always a day when mine is breaking the most.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lucy Conners Sotar
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 06:15:17

    Dear Amy,

    I clicked on “30 results” next to GooglePlus on my gmail. Just curious!

    The first thing that popped up was your description of yout mother’s death. It almost made me cry. Your mother, as you may know, was my favorite teacher of all the ones I ever had. I admired her so much, for her talent and her kindness. She knew how to teach without humiliating and with encouragement.

    I also have missed you in my life. I had a crazy life for a while and got out of touch with Allan and Gwen after my husband’s death four years ago. My fault! and my
    loss. I hope they will take me back.

    It has taken me four years to get over it, thanks to one year spent having three operations on my knee. It’s now time to get back in touch with all the people I have loved. This Valentine’s Day made me realize that I was lucky to have so many good friends and that Steve’s loss need not let me stop enjoying them and life.

    I am so happy to see that you are married and have children. You deserve a good life.You are as sweet and brilliant as your mother. Are you still in NYC?

    Today your message especially hit me because I am expecting my mom to die any day. By some miracle she is still alive. They thought she would be dead by Christmas. Somehow she kept going. They call her the “miracle woman” and the
    “energizer bunny!” They don’t understand how she not only lived, but got more strength through therapy. All her organs are deteriorating. Typical of her, though, last week she decided to walk to the bathroom without her walker and fell, bruising a lot of bones.

    I think this is her time, but I did before so I just don’t know. Fortunately, I live three minutes from the nursing home where she is.

    So I understabd your feelings well. Steve died on New Year’s Eve. Having someone die on a holiday means you can never forget!

    Didn’t we last see each other at Ira’s funeral? You were still living in India and going to adopt a child. Are you still Buddhist.

    Take care, Amy. If you feel like it, respond to me or send me an email. I am such a procrastinator. I think about people and getting in touch, and then don’t. This time I didn’t just think.

    Fondly and with sympathy,

    Lucy C. Sotar.

    Reply

  2. You think this is crazy, this is my LIFE!
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 18:31:57

    Lucy,
    I think you may have me confused with someone else. My Mom worked at Hopkins but was never a teacher. I never lived in India or was a Buddhist. My mother’s name was Barbara Colton.

    Regards,
    Amy Colton Krantz

    Reply

    • Lucy Conners Sotar
      Feb 16, 2012 @ 04:35:48

      I am so sorry, Amy.

      You are right. I was confused. I should have thought that there was more than one Amy Krantz in this world! The Amy I knew had adopted a boy in India, too, and that didn’t fit the ages of your boys.

      Still your story touched me. Your love for your mother was so profound. She must have been very special and you must have made her very happy. I know how terrible you must feel each year Valentine’s Day comes around.

      Now I have to get in touch with :”my” Amy.

      Lucy

      Reply

  3. Amy
    Jun 03, 2012 @ 03:34:51

    And for those of you who think this is about some other form of heartbreak…re-read. It is about the loss of my MOTHER!!! geez.

    Reply

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