October 3, 2021. My dear precious mother, Esther Stone, suffered a seizure which resulted in a Glioblastoma diagnosis. That’s the day my world shattered.
Esther’s seizure happened after the regular 2 mile walk she took around her neighborhood with my father. That was the last time she walked and the last time she saw her house. Her life was stripped from her in an instant, turning her family’s world upside down.
Being incapacitated and unstable meant Esther was in and out of facilities and hospitals. Fear, depression, anger and constant worry plagued our family as we tried to wrap our heads around this reality and figure out a way to keep Esther comfortable, make the right decisions for her, and cope with our own emotions. My sister and I have young children of our own that we needed to care for, but our mom became the center of our worlds throughout her illness.
Esther’s quality of life continued to deteriorate, but she continued to be the kind, caring and amazing person she was. The staff at the facility which ultimately became her home, Christian Healthcare in Wyckoff, NJ, became our family and Esther made sure to get to know all of her caregivers on a personal level. She kept her sense of humor as long as she could. Crippled with intense bouts of nausea and exhaustion, it became more and more difficult for Esther to be Esther and we, her family, as well as her Christian Health family could see her slipping away.
February 3, 2023. 16 months to the day since Esther’s diagnosis. She passed away at age 73 with me, my sister and my father by her side and now there’s a hole in our family forever. I never thought my dad would be a widower at 75. I never thought my mom, who was her grandkids’ biggest cheerleader, would miss out on seeing them grow up. I never thought that now, at age 41, I wouldn’t have my mom to go to… unless I visited her grave, which I do often.
Before 10/3/21 I had never even heard of Glioblastoma. Now, I hear of it too often, whether in the news or from a friend who tells me they had a loved one of their own who suffered from GBM as well. I don’t understand why this horrific disease is considered to be rare, or why my sweet and wonderful mother was plagued with it or why more people don’t know about it. GBM, being aggressive with no cure, is a death sentence. Esther deserved better. Her family deserved better. I pray for a cure one day so that more people do not have to endure what our family went through and continue to go through. For me, there’s life before the tumor and after the tumor. GBM physically took my mom from me, but never from my heart. Thinking of you everyday, Mom. I love you.