Early in November '93, B's Mom said that she hadn't been feeling well. She made an appointment with one doctor, who referred her to another, and began a series of tests and exams. In January '94, she called me into a room where she and my Father in Law were sitting.
They told me that Ma had received a very sad diagnosis. It was terminal lung cancer, and she said the doctors had given her a year at most. After we sat a while, she and my Father in Law told me that they didn't want to tell their 5 children. Mom didn't want to spend the whole year sitting around being mourned by them. She wanted to spend the year with her grandchildren, her own kids, and live life the best she could. They swore me to secrecy. I promised to honor their wish.
I believe it was a noble gesture on my part to make that oath, but I had no idea how difficult it was going to be to honor it.
It tore my heart out as the illness became obvious. Mom eventually told her family that she was stricken with cancer, but that the prognosis was good, and treatments were doing well. She made no hint at the real prognosis. The kids were upset, but optimistic. They were very encouraging to her, supportive and loving, but oblivious to the truth. B. was very, very attached to her Mom. They visited almost daily, and spoke on the phone two or three times a day when they didn't visit. It was eating at me, but I had an oath to uphold.