My mother died of cancer of the bowel, in 1990, at the age of 68. First cancer was cancer of the uterus, in 1973, at the age of 51. With the second cancer, stayed as long as she felt she needed to, settling family dynamics as much as she felt she could, and then died. With first cancer, she had to live; my sister was only 13. She went through the hysterectomy, the radiation, whatever else they wanted to do. Anything to survive, as long as possible.
The first cancer solidified parents’ marriage. Saw my father one morning in tears, while mother in hospital. When at hospital, I mentioned to her that he was in tears. She couldn’t believe it. Smiled. Married for 26 years at that point, with fractures. Never any doubt as to the long term for them, after that.
Came back from the hospital. She started smoking again. Said to her “I now know you are getting better”; back to normal. She later said that most of the women in her cancer cohort immediately stopped smoking, and then died.
She never went to church again, after the first cancer, following a hospital visit from a minister. She was major United Church for most of her life; Canadian Girls in Training and the mixed marriage arrangements. Never surrendered to the Catholics. Threw out my plastic Mother Mary, following my first communion. Outraged.
Said that something the minister had said caused her to want to never go back. Never said what it was. In later years, given the wills and estates components of my law practice, I suspect he was trying to shake her down. Instead of optimism about future life, post-cancer, he was trying to get her to make sure that the church was provided for, on her death. Make sure there is a bequest in your will.
Until her death, and at her death, it was all about how you live. Don’t need religious rituals or attendances to lead a righteous life.
She led a righteous life.