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
We lost Mom right after Valentine’s Day, on Feb. 17, 2015.
My Dad, brother and I miss her so much. But Mom would be happy that we are honoring the love our family received through CaringBridge, by matching gifts, up to $25,000, made on Feb. 13-14, 2018.
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.