Six months later the cancer returned. I was just starting to have my hair done again. This time the chemotherapy really weakened me and it was hard to get around. The children, grandchildren and Donna have come to help me out because it is hard for me to get around and I have fallen a few times. Also, I can’t depend on my memory to take pills. Much of the time I’ve been staying with Donna and when she has places to go, I have been going to Marilyn’s home where she and Chris visit with me.

Within 3 to 4 weeks after my 2nd chemotherapy, a sore started to appear on my chest. They were diagnosed as cancerous and the doctors gave me two more doses of chemo, but basically said that the chemotherapy wouldn’t help anymore. When I was in Utah, Donna was there or a few weeks before leaving for Europe. Then Joan came for a couple of weeks. She came when Matt went into the mission home. And then Linda came for a couple of weeks. When she needed to be in New York for a recording session, Steve fixed up his van into a bed and brought me down. Donna, who was back from her trip to Europe, came with us.

Steve has a person he did catering for who owed him a favor, so he arranged for a hospital bed for me. I’m now in Donna’s family room with a TV set from my home on Donna’s eating bar. It makes it easier for the family and especially Donna (who has been a nursing angel through all of this) to take care of my needs. It is very hard to be in bed all the time when I yearn to get out of bed and do something…anything. But, this must be a lesson I’m supposed to learn. Linda once remarked, “Getting old is hell.” She meant that the old body doesn’t work as well as it used to and there are aches and pains and creeks. The children have all said that it is also a lesson for them in giving service to someone who gave them so many years of service. I guess this is true. Joan comes as often as she can to help spell off Donna. Chris comes over during the day when Donna has places to go and Marilyn comes in the evenings. She is in a show now, so tries to get here when she can between work and performances. I am thankful for all their help.

(Marilyn: This is a narrative I wrote because mother was getting more and more ‘out of it.’)

Written January 1996, mother was having chemotherapy and it took her a long time to get her hair back. She had just gotten some of her strength back and was about to have her hair done again when the cancer came back. She had vowed the first time that she wouldn’t go through chemotherapy again, but faced with it again, she decided to go through the chemo again. This weakened her even more.

In the Spring of 1996, mother was honored by the City of Provo as the Outstanding Person in the fine Arts. I went to Utah where Jana, Michelle and I went with her to the banquet where she was honored. She received a beautiful trophy.

During the dinner mother was having pain in her heart for the exertion of the awards ceremony. This had been a problem for several months. Her doctors in Utah said it was nothing. When we got mother to California, her doctor here said her heart was very bad and that was what was giving her pain. They prescribed medication for it and that helped her. In fact, the doctors in California said that her heart could take her before the cancer.

Linda, Donna, and Joan were taking care of mother with tender service in Utah. Mother fell while going toward the bathroom and Linda had a very hard time getting her up and back to bed. At that time Linda finally talked mother into using Depends to make it easier for her if she didn’t make it into the bathroom. This seemed to be the final giving up of trying to get out of bed and function.

Linda took Mother to the doctor when after her last chemotherapy was completed and within a few weeks sores appeared on mother’s chest. The doctor took mother’s hands and said it was the cancer back and there was nothing they could do for her. She said, “But I’m not ready to go yet.” He was very tender with her. When he left the room mother started to cry and Linda took her in her arms and gave her comfort.

Finally the family decided that there were more people in California that could care for her. She really wanted to stay in her home, but it just wasn’t possible. She was so weak when Steve prepared to bring her to California, he had to carry her to the van where he’d made a bed in the back.

Steve had a friend who delivered a hospital bed and tray as a favor. The bed was put in Donna’s family room. It was easier for Donna and the rest of the family to help mother in this bed that would raise and lower, but the bulk of the hard work was on Donna. As a family we called a hospice care place and arranged for a home care nurse to be here with Donna 24 hours a day to the nursing for mother and it gave us all comfort to know she would be taken care of and that Donna would be able to leave and do things she needed to do. All of us tried to be with mother as much as possible during this time. Weekends we all took turns staying with Donna while the nurse wasn’t there. Once a week a doctor would come and check her. Each time the doctor would tell us that she didn’t have much time left. Then the doctor finally would say, “Is she still her?” Mother had always been so healthy that her body just didn’t want to give up.

Mother’s memory which of late hadn’t been great became much worse after so much chemotherapy and she would say she’d been out of bed and walking when she hadn’t. She also said she was going home and couldn’t remember she had cancer. When Kathy came down to help and see her, Mother thought Kathy had come to take her home. Kathy felt bad that she had to tell her she wasn’t going to take her home.

Finally she lapsed into sleep most of the time. Toward the end we would talk to her and rub her, but she couldn’t respond. Once she became lucid and called for everyone to come by the bed because she wanted to tell us something. We all raced to the bed and were standing there in expectation and she lapsed into sleep again. We all wondered what her great announcement would have been, but chuckled over all of us standing there around the bed.

I was in a musical so Chris came over and took my place helping when it was my turn with Mother. Joan and Dick were good to come and stay to help. Linda came when she could to give loving service. Her sons, Kent and Steve, along with Kathy made trips while mother was still lucid and they gave loving service. Julie and Gary came and stayed overnight on weekends to help out. Steve, Cheryl and their children came to help and visit.