Visiting for the last time

I’m in Chicago visiting my mother after purchasing a one-way ticket from my home in California.

I was just here two weeks ago.

I rushed out then for a visit because Mom, for some unknown reason, asked me to.  It was obvious to me that she hadn’t been feeling 100 percent when I visited her back in February, and from subsequent phone conversations it seemed she was strangely declining.  Indeed, the visit two weeks ago confirmed my suspicions: she was not well at all.  In fact I was so taken-a-back and concerned that, at my urging, we I visited several independent/assisted care living facilities.  However, both my brother (who drove in from Cleveland) and I couldn’t put a finger on what was physically wrong with Mom, and she wasn’t talking.

Then, 10-days after that visit, she took a major fall and was rushed to the hospital by ambulance where she received 8 staples in the back of her head.

It was in the emergency room the physicians realized something was amiss: her vitals were off.  Way off.

Through subsequent tests they discovered Mom had advanced liver and kidney cancer for which, at her age, there is no cure. We knew she had a recent bout with bladder cancer, but that appeared to be under control.  This new diagnosis was sobering.

It made us wonder why she hadn’t complained to her doctor about her issues, especially given the fact she is a Registered Nurse?  All I do know is this 87-year-old dynamo was powering through the debilitating symptoms of a deadly disease–and never once complained.

I arrived to see Mom lying is a hospital bed, asleep, and not looking anything like she did two weeks prior, let alone her appearance back in February.

The doctors say we’re talking days or, at most, weeks.

Early this morning, during a particularly lucid moment, I shared with her the sad news.  But I also shared the good news, that there is a Savior in Heaven who has a place prepared for her.  She smiled, nodded her head, and squeezed my hand.  More on that poignant conversation at another time.

In the meantime, tomorrow I will share further thoughts on life, and death, and eternity.

Also, if I can muster the composure, I may put my thoughts together as a part of my weekly Hidden Headlines Podcast.

Check back and thanks for allowing me to share.

Meantime, thanks for your prayers.

Brian Sussman

Reader Interactions


  1. Mary says

    Hi Brian,
    I am praying for your dear Mother. Just listened to your moving podcast.
    I enjoy Hidden Headlines and am
    Encouraging my 14 year old grandson to
    Listen to them. I am concerned about
    How the public schools brainwash our kids.
    God Bless all your wonderful work.
    PS. I also love to listen to you and Katie!!

  2. Elaine Hodges says

    Dear Brian,

    On Wednesday 6/12, I asked my husband Ron (He’s called-in to your show many times)……”Honey, where IS Brian, it seems like he’s been gone forever?” Ron didn’t know but then later he calls from work and tells me that he’s discovered the reason why you’re not on the show………’s your mom, the sweet strong lady who’s coffee you dislike, but you still love her much anyway……….that same sweet mom is now battling a disease that has hit so many of our loved ones…….my own dad and my only sister.
    Cancer…I hate it……..but I guess sometimes the Lord Jesus allows it so we can finally leave this troubled Earth to be in His Presence…….which by the way is when we REALLY began to live. (but I still hate cancer)

    Brian, this is such a hard time for you, and you are probably still in shock…….I’ve been there, I know…….but please do this one thing………….just imagine that your mom has already passed away and imagine the things you SO WISHED you could have told her……funny things, sentimental things, things from your childhood or even your hope & dreams for the future……and THEN, tell her NOW while you have her………..even if it seems she cannot hear or comprehend, trust me SHE CAN………..the hearing is the last to go.

    Make this time – a time of “not good bye’s”….but more like “I’ll see you later mom, this isn’t the end”…….and of course Brian, you already know that 🙂
    Let her see you and Brad side-hugging arms on each other’s shoulders as you stand by her bed…….her 2 boys that she loves so much, loving each other…….the band of 2 brothers who mean the world to her………THAT is what a mom lives for……her kids.

    Jesus is as close as the mention of His Name……..speak His Name to her…… Psalms to her……they will bring comfort like nothing else…….and the best thing of all, you will feel the Presence of His abiding love and the peace that passes all understanding………that is what Jesus brings when we need His strength and comfort…..He is our great God and dearest Friend.

    God bless you and Brad and your stepfather too and know that so many are praying for you guys every day.
    Much love and appreciation for all that you do,
    Elaine from San Jose 🙂

  3. Gracetta Bullard says

    Dear Brian
    I listen to you every morning and you make my day begin with such a positive approach and I thank you for that. I have a dear friend whose husband passed away yesterday with the same problems as your cherished Mom and I can only tell you that after his diagnosis and the loving care of his family and Hospice and the through the divine grace of our lord he lasted only a matter of 3 weeks and that truly was a blessing. The prayers from friends and family were amazing and for those of us who truly believe we know our Lord had a hand in his peaceful demise. Our prayers are now for your Mom and may her journey be swift and peaceful.
    Thank you for your honesty and profound knowledge,
    Gracetta from South San Francisco

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