by Lisa Sledge

I’m going to do a bit of soul bearing.

I love my mother-in-law. My children call her “Hara”. She is the kindest, most selfless person I know.

Once I was sick. It was so bad I needed someone else to lift my legs into my bed because I had no strength. She took the midnight train to sit with me, clean my home, comfort my two-year-old, empty my catheter, and scrub vomit out of the carpet. She saved my life and gave me courage.

And when I let her down, she forgave me.

Ten days ago, I called her on the phone.

“I’ve been having a little trouble,” she said. “I keep forgetting things. I couldn’t remember my phone number the other day. And last night I was reading and then forgot how. The letters stopped making sense.”

“Maybe it’s stress,” I said.


Last Friday, she had a problem at work. She couldn’t remember where she was. Or what she was supposed to be doing.

There is a tumor the size of a golf ball entwined deep in the tissues of her brain. She has months remaining. Soon she won’t be able to speak. Then she’ll lose the ability to move.

I’ve only known her six years, but somehow, I can’t imagine my world without her.

I don’t want her to go.

I’ve never met most of the people who read this blog. Someday I hope to know more of you.

But as you see my words on your screen, you might think of someone you love. You might remember what it was to watch them fade. In our shared sorrow, we will connect. The world will become smaller. We will find strength together.

It’s amazing, the power that can be found in typing a few words onto a page. Somehow, in spite of differences and distances between us, we understand each other. And we find friends and comfort among strangers.



Filed under Family, Life

5 responses to “Glioma

  1. benschwensch

    No matter how bad it gets, keep thinking of the wonderful person you’ve known before and all the kindnesses she has shown. She’s still in there somewhere, though it may be a call on “long distance” to reach her. Keep trying, as long as she’s able . . . SOME part of her will know!

  2. This piece really touched me. Thank you for being so vulnerable and sincere in your words. I have lost loved ones and I understand some of your pain. I hope you find peace as you spend these last months with your mother-in-law.

  3. CLW

    Beautiful, Lisa. Thank you.

  4. I remember my grandfather slowly getting ill. It was awful to watch and heartbreaking to lose someone I loved so much. But I kept thinking of my own mother-in-law as I read. Both from my first marriage and my current. They are both wonderful amazing women and I have been lucky to have their kindness and love in my life. When my first mother-in-law passed last year, it was hard, and I can’t even think about losing my current mother-in-law. I’m rambling, but my thoughts are with you and your family in this difficult time.

  5. Thank you, this was beautiful. Check out The Starch Solution by Dr. McDougal and his web site. This diet cures many things, including arthritis–which I have and have less and less of it each week. It may be too late for cancer the size of a golf ball, but who knows? Miracles happen. At any rate, your love for her, and her love for you and yours was a beautiful thing for me to read. Good luck to all of you.


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