Death Is Stubborn  

Posted by Brock Booher

When I started writing this blog I made it clear that some things belong in a journal, not a blog. Last month I wrote several potential blogs that ended up as journal entries because they were too personal. That's why I missed posting last month. I apologize if this entry is too personal as well, but I figured a lot of you have dealt with death on a very personal level also. Maybe you can relate to some of these emotions.

I went running a few of days ago for the first time in almost a week. It was a nice spring morning in Phoenix with a nice breeze. I should have been enjoying it, but instead I stopped in the middle of my run to cry. I was falling to pieces inside.

My mother is dying, but that isn’t a surprise. Let’s be truthful, we are all dying. Her date just happens to be a little closer and the signs of her impending demise are beginning to show. The cancer in her peritoneal cavity is taking its toll. She has grown very weak and has lost so much weight that she is barely recognizable. She hasn’t eaten since Dec 24th, and sleeps most of the time. If it weren’t for her stubbornness, she would already be dead.

I visited her several times last month, and after every visit, I struggled not to fall apart inside.

She is one of the strongest women I have ever known. Her mother died when she was eight years old. She bounced around from relative to relative for a few years while her father struggled to provide a home and a future for her and her sister. She married young, and started having children (by choice) at an age when most young women are still thinking about high school prom. Ten children later, she battled with dirty diapers, dirty dishes, and dirty floors. Along with raising ten children, she raised a garden. She stretched a dollar until it screamed and shopped for bargains at second-hand stores. She learned how to repair cars, frame houses, and weld. If you wanted her to do something, just tell her she couldn’t do it. I think the only thing she never really mastered was the computer, but that’s mostly because she viewed excessive time in front of a screen as frivolous.

When she had cancer as a younger woman, I didn’t worry. I knew she wasn’t ready to die, and she wasn’t going to give in to disease so easily. Her stubbornness would carry the day. She lived, of course. Now, after two battles with cancer and a death sentence passed on her by modern medicine, she is finally succumbing to the disease that tried to rob us of her so many years ago. Death, it seems, is more stubborn than she is.

I knew she would not go in for treatment this time, and I accepted it. I knew that her faith in the next life was strong and would carry her through. I had accepted her death intellectually. I had accepted her passing spiritually. But I had not come to grips with her demise emotionally. How could I let her go? What lighthouse could I turn to in the storm of life? What rock could I count on when everything else was falling apart?

My mother has always held her emotional cards close to her vest. Her even temper and poker face carried the day. I could rarely tell when she was angry, unless she was switching me with a switch from the forsythia bush. When chaos and emotional mayhem reigned around her, she was steady as sunrise. When tempers flared and voices rose, she was like a duck on the water, smooth on the surface, but paddling like crazy underneath. She was a hard person to get to know, but not a hard person to love.

I guess that I was still in denial about death really claiming her. Somehow I still believed that she would figure out a way to stiff-arm death once again. I expected that she would be too stubborn to let death take her one single second before her appointed time. So far, she has done just that.

My mother continues to linger and wait for death to claim her. As the signs of the gaining disease begin to show, I have accepted the fact that death is more stubborn than she is, but only by a narrow margin.

This picture is from several months ago. Her condition has worsened day-by-day and we wait for her merciful passing. Meanwhile she continues to make death wait, or maybe death is finally making her wait.

My sweet sisters, like angels, have carried the weight of caring for her in her final days. My father keeps vigil for the appointed hour.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 10, 2014 at Monday, February 10, 2014 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

5 comments

What an eleqouent tribute to your mother. You have my thoughts and prayers. The hardest part is waiting and unable to do anything about it. For two and one half years I went through this last year with my step daughter. She went from being a vibrant beautiful lady to a person who could only move her eyelids before Lou Gehrigs completely took over and she left us.
Although we are prepared in a situation we are ever really prepared for the end. Sometimes as much as we would like to keep them its easier for them to leave us. You are in my thoughts. I know you don't know me but I am related to Lisa Stout Booher....I am still trying to find out if your Boohers are related to mine (Bristol TN)
Jenny Johnson Manuel Mountain City TN

February 10, 2014 at 12:15 PM
Anonymous  

What a poignant and loving tribute to a very special lady! How very blessed you are to have such a choice daughter of God to be your mother in mortality. Thank you for sharing these inspiring personal thoughts with us. I have not lost a parent in this type of struggle, but I have gone through this same wasting away, moment by moment, downhill progression with two of my best friends. You are right, death is even more stubborn than those we love....but all to our own eternal benefit. May you and your family be sustained by Heavenly Father's amazing grace, His unfathomable love, your cherished memories of that special relationship with your mother, your priceless bonds with your family and friends, and most powerful of all for me, the confident anticipation of that ultimate Grand Reunion someday. Prayerfully, Tricia Orr.... ( I am a friend of Amory and Lisa Booher.)

February 10, 2014 at 12:48 PM
Becky Glazier  

Thank you for sharing your thoughts Brock. So sorry to hear your Mom is suffering. It's never easy, no matter the circumstances. Praying for peace and comfort for you, your Mom and all your family. And remember, it's ok to cry. We were given that ability to help us with our emotions and show compassion.

February 10, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Absolutely beautiful words, Brock. What a lovely tribute to your Mom and vivid description of what you and your family are going through. As you know, I've been there-- the waiting part is agony. Glad you're finding all kinds of ways to work with it instead of against it… writing, running, crying. You're doing wonderfully well. I continue to send you peace and strength. Hang in there.
xo Liana

February 10, 2014 at 5:45 PM

On Feb 12th around 6:30 am in Phoenix, I got a phone call. My sweet mother finally let death take her. She will be missed, but her passing was peaceful and merciful.

February 13, 2014 at 6:50 AM

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