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Words. Stephen Schloss

January 12th, 2011 by Conor

Conor,

This is Stephen Schloss, not sure if you remember me. I have to start off by saying that just a few days ago I found my FLIGI hoodie, one of my favorite hoodies ever, in the closet of my old bedroom in my parents’ house in South Florida. I’ve been wearing it every day. Just today, I saw a post on Facebook about your brother. Strange things like this happen…

I want you to know that I can relate very closely to what you’re experiencing, and here is why…

For two weeks in December, my sister and I spent 24 hours a day in a small hospital room with my 55 year old mom. We would each try to leave once every day or two, for an hour, to run home and shower. My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in mid-October and was doing OK until just after her first chemo treatment around Thanksgiving. Things went horribly downhill and we experienced a nightmare that nobody, no children, should have to experience a sweet, innocent, vibrant mother, wife and friend go through. We took her home on December 27 in hospice care and she passed on the morning of December 31 while I was holding her hand.

I’m offering this extremely brief version of my story for you to know that I understand the feeling of spending endless hours feeling helpless at the side of a loved family member. People commenting on how you should be a nurse because you know so much and you’re so attentive and caring. But who the hell wants to learn this stuff if they didn’t go to med school?? What a horrible way to learn. And only we, you, me, Michelle (whom I obviously do not know), and my sister are the ones who can understand that there is no choice otherwise; it’s not because we want to be there or we have to be there, it’s because that’s where we belong. Convenience, comfort, pain, hygiene…none of it really matters, just keeping your spirits up and stopping at nothing to comfort and aide your loved one. I slept in one of those big chairs that you’re in in those pictures for the entirety of my stay at the hospital – with multiple herniated discs in my back and sciatica in my leg so bad that I was in the ER the week before and I haven’t driven in over a month. My mom apologized to me because she knew how much it hurt me to sit with her and rub her feet and to lift her – but I was the only person that she’d let move her around in her bed, or in the chair.

We know what it’s like to feel like all there is is hope and a smile. How incredible it feels to have that loved person that was strong as a bull yesterday, just squeeze your finger today. I have a great feeling that your outcome will be a positive one and that your brother will thrive after this experience. It’s so obvious that he is loved by many and the job that you and Michelle are doing with the website is so incredible. Danny feels that love and hears your words.

I want you to know that if you feel like talking about anything, your experience, hearing mine, or anything else, please don’t hesitate to call me or email me. I’ve cried and screamed and questioned everything. I’ve led decision-making that I could never imagine having to do with my mother’s life.

Stay strong man. You guys are doing great and it’s inspirational to see you tackling this situation like I’m seeing it on the website.

Again, please feel free to contact me at any time. I’m here living every moment as it comes.

All the best in health and sending love and positive vibes your way…

-stephen

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