In honor of a joyful, generous, loving woman who enriched the lives of those she knew.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Photos of Susan Sher, Otherwise Known as Mama

I'm trying to get my scanner to work so I can scan some photos, but in the meantime here's what I have from my digital camera.  I lived with my mother for a while in Atlanta, and some of these pictures are from there, others were taken in Seattle.

 Mom alongside the path at the lake in our apartment complex in Atlanta...unless I'm wrong and this is someplace at Green Lake. No, judging by the width of the path and her wacky glasses, I don't think so.  Atlanta.

The older she got, it seemed the more she wanted her hair short, short, short.  She begged my husband to buzz her hair.  He was more than glad to.
Mom a willing victim of the haircutter.

Mom loved her haircut!

Mom on the monorail in Seattle on the way to the ferry.

Mom looking unusually relaxed.

Mom looking feisty--where was this?  Maybe on a ferry?

This is the expression she wore when she was so, so happy and amused.  It's fixed in my memory more than any other.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Susan Sher , my beloved mother

Here are some facts about her:

• Her last spin at a casino slot machine was 10-10-10-10-10, and she turned around to me and said “ok let’s go”. She had only won 20 bucks, but she was very happy.

• My mother’s answer to the question “what would you do if you only had 3 months to live” was spending time with her family at home, decorating her room, and eating good food.

• She adored her grandson, and because of her limited funds and limited mobility she would take a series of local buses all the way from Bellingham to West Seattle to see him. That’s about 100 miles each way.

• After years of searching for the cause and solution to her chronic pain, thanks to hospice, and a correct diagnosis of her brain cancer, she was mostly pain free during her last months.

• She loved finding bargains and using a senior discount.

• She loved putting on display the things she bought, and loved having compliments about them.

• She loved shopping for and giving gifts to the people that she cared about.

• She loved seeing Barack Obama become president. She was at my house at the time, and she cried tears of joy when the results were in.

• Her favorite baseball player was Chipper Jones

• She called my 2 dogs, her “grandpuppies”, and treated them like little princes. She always loved to house-sit for me and my wife in order to spend time with them.

• She loved American Idol, General Hospital, Monk, and Baseball. Towards the end, when she had a hard time following plots and communicating, the only thing she wanted to watch was Monk.

• She was an expert at enjoying the moment. Whether it was food, a television show, the company of her friends and family, shopping, she always expressed great joy and appreciation for the happy moments of her life.

• For the last couple of years, she visited me at my house almost every other week for the duration of a few days, and I treasure those memories of her.

• She had a dark sense of humor (and so do I). I cannot print all of the things we laughed about together, even here in this blog. Nope, I just can’t do it.

Some things she used to say a lot

• “I’m a shopper”

• “I’m having so much fun!”

• “This is the best ______ I have ever had!!”

• “Oh no, you couldn’t possibly enjoy _____ as much as I do”

My mother knew that my sister and I weren’t all that excited about getting much of the items that she bought over the years. She wanted me to take a picture of her stuff after she finished decorating the room. Here it is:

Notice the miniature Hagrid . My mom got that for me because he looks Sooo much like my late father. I told her that we had to get a miniature statuette of her for me to keep after she passed away. See the statuette of the standing woman to the left of Hagrid? That was what I found, much to her chagrin. I used to point to the statue, and tell her “I love my mom”, and she said indignantly, “Hey!! I’m your mom”.

This was another favorite area of her room that she decorated in her last months.  Honest, it's not me who wants to put this here.  She really really wanted people to enjoy it. 

If you want to see more pictures of her, you'll have to scroll down to my sister's posts.

On a more serious note, she was very grateful to the services of her nurse practitioners, Terri in Seattle, and Lauren in Bellingham.  She was grateful for the attention to her comfort that hospice gave her.  She was grateful for the friendship of Thelma and Sandy from Atlanta, and Donna L and Jane M from Seattle. She had many other people who were her friends, especially from the TOPS organization.  She wasn't able to express herself very clearly over the phone towards the end, so she didn't keep in contact with them at the very end, but she was very grateful towards them, and loved them very much.

This is getting really long, so I will write down more thoughts soon.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Susan Sher After the Diagnosis of a Brain Tumor

Mom really loved being put to work after she was sick! (Just kidding about the work. Mom kept pushing in life as long as she could, and when she weakened, she always found a way to laugh about her frailties.)

Mom loved, loved, loved the dogs!
Mom showing some of her feisty spirit in the hospital room.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Mother, Susan Sher, Died Today

My mom, Susan (Sue) Sher, died today of grade four primary brain cancer at age sixty-five. The cancer hit her language centers, causing her to grow more and more confused each day. She found it harder and harder to communicate, but kept talking in her indomitable, if zany, way until she stopped talking altogether.

One day, she stopped eating and drinking and taking her pills. Two days later, she stopped breathing.

That day was today. We'd all known it was coming--Mom included--but I, personally, didn't expect it to happen less than three months after she was diagnosed.

We're glad it wasn't a painful death. This kind of cancer doesn't metastasize. Hospice kept her on pain relievers, and my brother, M, and his wife, L, kept her well-cared for. In a way, she was happier during those last months than in the previous year, because she was out of pain and living in a good place.

Mom had been ready to die, too. She wasn't the kind of person to want to hang around in a half-functional state. When she was ready to go, she wanted to go. And that's what she did.

I'm happy for her, but sad for us. Yes, we'll have the memory of her wonderful, joyful, enthusiastic, life-loving, if sometimes aggravating and stubborn, presence. But I'd rather have her.