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We're in a death watch here.

My mom was diagnosed with Stage IIIb lung cancer back in May of 2006, and it's finally come to the crisis hour.

She's lying in a hospital bed in New Jersey, surrounded by family and friends, but she has slipped into a coma and is unresponsive.

Despite the advanced nature of her lung cancer when it was diagnosed, she had a great run; she was lucky enough to have good insurance. Avastin kept her both alive and active for a good year and a half, and her insurance paid for it despite the fact that it can cost a good $100K a year. She was able to serve out the last of her 31 years as a middle-school Spanish teacher in her school district, dragging herself in every day despite immense fatigue because her students were important to her.

My mom was not a political animal, and she didn't like it when I went on and on about politics. She lived and taught in heavily Republican districts for her entire life, despite growing up in a blue-collar, Democratic stronghold. Economically, she had every advantage; the Bush tax cuts were surely good for her rather than bad. She isn't affected by the economic slowdown because she never invested in the stock market. She voted for Reagan twice, and had to put up with my ribbing her about that from the time I became politically sentient in the early 80s.

But my mother, from her deathbed, voted for Obama.

I had no idea this had happened; I live in New Mexico, and I wasn't at her side on Friday when she slipped into unconsciousness. But apparently one of the last things she did in her life was to ask my sister to get her an absentee ballot, and on Wednesday the ballot came, and she asked my dad to help her fill it in, and she sent it in.

On Thursday, my mom made a few phone calls, including one to me. She sounded happy and light-hearted. And on Friday she lost consciousness.

Why would she vote for Obama from her deathbed?

I have to believe she did it for her three grandchildren; that in the midst of having no hope for herself, that knowing that THEY would have some hope, that her country could possibly be turning the corner to something better, was uplifting to her. Lung cancer is a tragedy but I think she wanted to do one more thing in her life, one more good thing that she still could do, to overcome that tragedy.

I don't know if my mom will last until election day. I don't know if her vote will be counted. But I could not be prouder of her that this was one of the last things she ever did.

Originally posted to ChuyHChrist on Sun Nov 02, 2008 at 06:33 AM PST.

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