"I always wanted to go home with you. That won't happen now." -- Broken Sword's dying words to Flying Snow in Hero.
There are several great scenes and great images in Hero. The scene that I've always found most moving, though, the final one between the lovers Broken Sword and Flying Snow, doesn't usually gain mention among people's favorites. But it brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it because of four words: "That won't happen now." All of Broken Sword's hopes and dreams of a long, peaceful, happy life with Flying Snow are gone in an instant. Yet he doesn't need to give a long speech to express every bit of the sorrow he feels. All he needs are those four words, among the saddest I know. "That won't happen now."
Some of you may have noticed my absence from our shared online worlds for the past week. (Although I did manage a couple of blog posts through the magic of post-dated posting.) I was visiting my mom in California.
Since the last time I wrote about my mother, she's been diagnosed with stage IV (metastatic) breast cancer. So Mom now has, in no particular order, congestive heart failure, emphysema (COPD), asthma, osteoporosis, advanced breast cancer, severe anemia (caused by the cancer), and a hernia.
Her cancer diagnosis is not "terminal." Her oncologist has planned a year's course of treatment, so he at has least some hope that she'll be around that long. But thanks to the internet, I know the odds. I'll never say them, though, not even to myself.
I've gone round and round on what kind of post to make this. I've thought of titling this post "Never tell me the odds"; I've thought of calling it "Giving up." I've thought of making this a rant against my sister, who's been taking no better care of Mom than before.
I've thought about trying to explain what's been going on, with more detail on how and why I've tried to convince my mother to move up here with us, and how and why I've failed. But I've decided to do this instead. I've decided to just say what I wanted for her. (Feel free to make your own inferences about what that means about what she doesn't have now. Your inferences will likely be correct.)
We -- and by "we" I include my wife, who is fully on board with everything and God how I love her for it, and my children, who agree to the extent of their understandings -- wanted Mom to come live with us. We wanted her to live with us so her living conditions would be hygienic, she'd always be clean and well-groomed, and she'd get as much good-tasting, nutritious food as she could handle.
We wanted Mom to live with us so she'd always feel secure that she could ask for anything she wants or needs, and no one would ever try to make her feel guilty for being sick, or argue with her, or shout at her. We wanted her to always feel certain that her every need would be met with cheerful help in a timely way.
We wanted Mom to live with us so she could feel secure that she would always have a family member nearby and she would never be left alone for two nights (or one, for that matter) while her (so-called) caregiver took off for a weekend vacation and left her home alone with her congestive heart failure, emphysema, asthma, osteoporosis, advanced breast cancer, severe anemia, and hernia.
We wanted Mom to live with us so she'd be with people who would never make her feel like a worthless old woman, people who would value her life and want to know her stories. We wanted to love her, to cherish her in her old age.
When the end comes -- not too soon, we hope, though we'd prepare for that too -- we wanted it to come in Mom's own bed in our home, where Mom would be surrounded by people who feel, or at least express, nothing but love for her, empathy for any pain or fear she has, sorrow at her passing, and hope that perhaps something better awaits her.
Those are the kinds of things we wanted for Mom. That won't happen now.