My celphone registered 7:01 pm, upon checking it, when I no longer hear any breathing after somewhat a long sigh from my nanay. It’s a month now since that last breath.
I never knew she would have her last breath a month ago.
Our conversation the night before were the usual casual exchanges of her complaining about pains. She developed new pains in her legs. I was telling her that it could be because she’s no longer moving much as she was bed-ridden. But in my mind, I felt that it could be the cancer already spreading to her bones.
She told me, “ganahan na kaayo ko mopahuway, ‘day.”
It did not surprise me. She had been saying it for the nth time. My default answer to her was that I would pray harder for it, and let’s make our faith and trust in Him stronger that he has the best plans for her and us.
That night I decided to change her colostomy plate when I noticed her lower abdomen was hard (I did not know that would be the last time I had to deal with her colostomy plate and bag). My heart was crushed a hundred times when I sense the hardening in her lower abdomen. It could mean a huge mass in her intestine again, in her kidney, in her ovary, or all over there or I don’t know where. Gawd, that must be so painful.
So while cleaning her colostomy, my mind was debating if she should undergo another surgery or just resort to high-dosage pain relievers as a way to relieve her from the discomforts from that big mass in her lower abdomen.
But I doubt if she could handle another operation. The last time she was hospitalized, her body barely reacted to the strong vials after vials of antibiotics.
Then, maybe it would be the time to really get her into high-dosage of pain reliever. But A cancer patient in pain and a pain-free cancer patient but is drugged is equally painful to look at. Though, there’s a bit of assurance that at least she’s not in pain but still they’re very sad to look at it.
After I was done with her colostomy, I told her we would go to the hospital after Sinulog, which she said no to. So I told her I needed the help of the doctors to sort things out. It was the night before Sinulog. In her situation, it’s really hard to move her around so I’d rather not risk getting into the mob of Sinulog, and prayed for the Sinulog to be over soon.
And so the best I could offer to her were pain relievers and downers.
I was weighing what should I pair to prescription sleeping pill: should it be arcoxia or algesia or biogesic or buscopan or others. As lately, they did not do much on her pain. And I was also scared of experimenting because sometimes the effect could be bad. Also, I had not much room to experiment since she was having difficulty downing any thing solid.
So I was praying hard that the pills would get her straight to sleepingville, to being too knocked out to feel the pain. 🙁
In an hour or two, she was gibberish. Either she was in so much pain that she just talked nonsense, or the pain killers worked and that was the effect on her.
It was probably around 4am when finally, her eyes closed, and I believed to myself she was sleeping. Finally, we’re able to rest.
Throughout the day of the Sinulog, she was asleep. From time to time, I would catch her with eyes open, and conversation would be about asking her if she would like to eat, drink or she would want oxygen. Either she would go back to sleep before I finished talkig or she would simply turned her head to signal No.
It was 3pm, I could sense her breathing was harder this time. But I told myself that it’s probably nothing.
We went out and bought snacks.
It was 4pm when the Lay Minister Bro. Warly came for her “kalawat.” I woke her up, and her breathing was really unusual. I already had to push the pinch of the “hostice” into her throat so she could take it.
I got a feeling that this must be it. I asked the kids to hug her, say I love you, and their farewell. Then my turn. She replied “I love You” in a very whispery voice.
I did not cry. I did not want her to have a hard time leaving. So I just sat down beside her, and prayed.
Her breathing went from hard, to long ones. The kids went out to the other house for dinner. It was just the 2 of us when I heard the last breath. I continued praying, I did not dare look at her to confirm until Mark came back, and confirmed it.
Then, I cried… for sadness but more of happiness. Kapahuway na jud sya on the night of the Sinulog celebration. The Sinulog did not end so soon as What I prayed for; THEY had other plan, which was somehow we’re prepared for.
Every time I think back, I wish I had more “meaningful conversations” with her instead of about pain relievers and hospitals and oxygens.