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This thread is going to be a little personal.

For years, I have been talking around a family health situation that has occasionally (and then more frequently) taken my time and energy away from writing and my other calling.

I kept it vague because it wasn't my story.
Yesterday, my mother died after a long period of declining lung capacity.

She beat the odds on her initial prognosis, and several revisions after that. She kept living her life to the end, going to Disney World with her baby grandkids, a mobility scooter, and two tanks of oxygen
My mother was an inveterate problem solver. Put a system in front of her and she would pick it apart, figure out how to make it work.

When she saw the trajectory of her illness, she decided she was going to get herself on the transplant list.

It was a long shot to a long shot.
Broadly speaking, they don't do that kind of transplant unless there is nothing wrong with you except the need for the organs. She had to get every other health problem addressed and her body weight in line with what the doctors wanted.
To be honest, sometimes it seemed like the transplant quest was just her way of holding onto hope. She was not ready to give up, she needed to believe there was a way to win with the hand she had been dealt.

I dreaded the day when things took a turn, and she was rejected.
But that didn't happen.

The transplant team had concerns over her frailty, but when they told her she needed to demonstrate mobility, she summoned her will and got up and did their tests.

I wasn't there. In my head, it's a bit like Grandpa Joe with a golden ticket on the line.
So she was approved, and put on the list. They still had concerns, but were impressed by her resolve and her scrupulousness in following care regimens.

Two of my mother's greatest hobbies these past five years or so were followers medical orders and defying medical expectations.
Living lungs are a rare and precious gift, and there is no way to guess when someone migjt leave a pair behind. We were discussing plans as a family for a wait of potential months, knowing we'd be lucky to have weeks.
On Sunday, she had grown so weak that the decision was made to intubate. The doctor told her she would wake up with new lungs, he was going to make it happen.

Then told my dad if he was wrong, she'd never know.

He gave her twelve hours.
I had plans for birthday drinks that evening. I told Dad I was going turn my phone off for the duration... if something happened, I couldn't do anything, so it didn't matter when I got the word.

Maybe that sounds callous if you don't know her, but I did it for her. Dad agreed.
I knew she would've hated the idea of me sitting at home hovering over a text chain, cancelling plans, missing a birthday celebration.

If she did wake up, I wanted her to see pictures like this on Facebook. Me, dressed up, going out, surrounded by people.
The unicorn horn was a gift from her. Over the years she's usually given me some kind of fun accessory before WisCon, some little piece of flair. That was this year's.
Anyway. When I checked my texts after the party, what I saw was "holding steady". She had defied expectations again.

The doctor revised his estimate from hour by hour to day by day.
She did wake up. Keeping her under was sending her heart rate too low. She probably knew the doctor was telling her a story when he put her under.

She saw the picture. She heard all our messages.
She made it through Monday, June 10th, my actual birthday, which is a little blessing but one that feels significant.
My mother lived.
I will doubtlessly have more to say about her I'm the days to come, but... that's what happened. That's what has been going on with me.

And now that it's done, I don't know if it means I will be withdrawing for a bit or throwing myself into my work or what. Playing it by heart.
If you would like to help in this difficult time, please feel free. There is no PTO or family leave for the crowdfunded, and I expect to intermittently be a mess for a while longer.

Thank you to everyone who's expressed condolences and support. I think I'm going to get off of the social mediums for a bit.
Addendum to this thread: today, my father forwarded my mother's last message to me. She had written one for each of her children.

I had some trepidation about it, because of the thought that whatever was in it, it would always be the last thing she said to me.
I had thought I might put off reading it, so there would always be something more to come... but I'm glad I read it.
Should I ever find myself in a similar position, I'll try to remember how she did it: lots of warm, happy memories, compliments, recognition. Not much in the way of advice. Wise. A parent's advice can come across a bit pointed, and you can't clarify intent past a certain point.
She had thirty-nine years to teach me what she wanted to teach me and I guess she trusted the job she had done.

So it was nice.
Woke up this morning both to realize that it was the best night's sleep I've had in a while and that I felt like I could stay in bed all day.

First time not up late anxious, waiting for news, etc. Not woken up by early morning updates or late night base-touching.
I thought about canceling my plans for the day to catch up on sleep, but all things considered, I'd rather seize the day.
I'm still here.
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