We were unaware that she was sick since late Spring--she hid it from us and (we learned later) avoided getting together with us throughout the summer so we wouldn't know (and wouldn't worry!).
Early September was when we all realized something was seriously wrong, and I got the call from her that the doctor wanted her to go to the hospital, "would I take her?" I packed an overnight bag, drove to her place and spent most of that night checking her in, waiting for tests, laughing with her and getting her settled. More than a week went by before she went home. Less than 2 months later, with her children and grandson around her, circled in love, she died peacefully at home.
We cared for her and laughed with her and were strengthened by her: if someone was upset or wasn't coping well, she took their hand and talked with them, reassuring and soothing them. She knew what was imminent and was at peace with it and wanted us to be, too. She made sure we were okay.
My Mom was the strongest person I know.
I brought my Splendid Sampler binder one afternoon to show her all the blocks. Many are made from fabric I got from her family farm and her mother, my Grammy, so they have special meaning. We had so much fun looking through them & she picked out fabrics she remembered ("was that the curtains in the pantry on the farm?" or "Oh, that was my mother's apron!").
I had lost my interest in completing the year-long project and presented it to her as done. But she was my cheerleader, always, and she urged me to continue this to the end. She said, "I didn't know I had such a talented daughter! You should finish it. It will be worth it." And I found myself ready to continue. Just those few words from her and I didn't even think about it--I would keep at it.