Betsy Bluey Cook with her mom, Cathy, in a photo taken by a dear family friend.
My Mom, Cathy Bluey, was insistent that Thanksgiving was coming and she needed to make her pumpkin pies. Sadly, the date was Dec. 19, 2013.
The next day, after her MRI revealed gray areas of concern, our healthy wife, mom and nana was diagnosed with Stage 4 small cell lung cancer that had metastasized to her brain and hip. We struggled to find a reason why a non-smoker could have lung cancer.
Her primary care doctor immediately started talking about palliative care. We had never heard the term before, and were startled to learn it meant end-of-life care.
We Needed Science, and Jesus
My Dad, brother and I were determined to try everything that might reverse, change or cure the cancer. We did not look at my Mom’s situation like it was too late. We would do whatever science would let us do to keep her in this world. We needed science, and Jesus.
Family and friends wanted to know everything. Their concerns and prayers washed over us, and we felt loved. But we also felt like we wanted to spend as much time as we could with Mom. Taking several phone calls a day was overwhelming. And exhausting. We were all living with the cancer.
My Mom was a nurse, and had always taken care of everyone, and everything. When it came to worrying, she always wanted to do the worrying for us. After her diagnosis, we had to learn to do all the worrying … about everyone and everything.
My Dad had to learn how to learn to ask for help, and keep a chart with all of Mom’s medications. My mother-in-law had to move from Connecticut to Florida, to help care for my young daughter, (Mom and Katie, by the way, were so very close. There was no better nana to her three grandkids.)
We Communicated by Holding Hands
As for me: I had to accept that I could no longer communicate through words with my best friend. But Mom and I continued to communicate by holding hands. I have no way of knowing if she heard my words or understood my tears. And I hope she knew I understood her tears.
While we couldn’t always get to the phone or return emails, we could share my Mom’s story through our almost daily posting of words and photos on CaringBridge. It was our answer for how we were going to communicate, share difficult emotions, and receive daily comfort and love from our extended family and friends.
We needed CaringBridge. And it was truly the only way we could connect, to form a bridge that spanned two continents of friends and family.
Honoring the Love Our Family Received
Our beloved, Catherine Bluey, left us on Feb. 17, 2015, to be with her Lord and Savior … so much sooner than we ever expected or desired. We are forever grateful to Dr. Brown and Dr. Zafar and their staffs for their knowledge and expertise, and treating our Nana with love and kindness and not simply as a “case.” We are also most appreciative of the devotion of her caregivers, without whom we would have been overwhelmed.
Cathy was the Nana to three clever grandkids, a loving wife, an extraordinary mom, her daughter’s best friend, an aunt and great-aunt. She was the person who always had her cell phone set to ring (just in case), and the person you would meet who would share her funnel cake at a circus with you, even if you had just met.
Our Nana had a simple philosophy: Be kind to others and always be there to support others. Our family always said that Nana never met a stranger. She believed in the power of prayer and took great comfort from studying the Bible and attending her church.
Catherine, our Nana, is missed every day. She taught us many things in life that we would have to do. But she never taught us how to cope with the hurt of losing her. We love and miss you, Nana.
She would be happy that her family is honoring the love that came to her through CaringBridge, by matching gifts, up to $25,000, made on Feb. 13-14, 2020.
Here’s a link below to make sure your donation gets doubled. CaringBridge was there when we needed support. We want it to be available to everyone.
Betsy Bluey Cook, of Fort Myers, FL, is the daughter of Cathy Bluey, who used CaringBridge during her journey with lung cancer.