The last month has been the most chaotic, heart-wrenching, emotional, time of my entire life, so please bear with me because I feel the need to get this all out.
Thirty days ago, we took my mother to the emergency room at Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton because she was coughing up some blood. Twenty-six days ago, she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer that had metastasized in her soft tissue, adrenal gland, liver, spine, and brain. Twenty-five days ago, my mother came home from the hospital with the belief that she would have approximately three months to live without treatment, and she began to wait diligently to find out if she would test positive in a marker test for new treatment options. Twenty-four days ago, she began a series of daily radiation treatments to reduce swelling in her brain, trips that were taking more and more of her energy each day.
Fourteen days ago, my mother’s oncologist informed her that the marker tests were negative and she was not a candidate for the new treatments so her only option was traditional chemotherapy and radiation. She declined such treatment. My mother wanted quality over quantity, she wanted comfort over combat, she wanted her last days to come on her own terms, not through sterile tubing and bitter tablets. Before we walked out of the office that day we were told to start thinking in terms of weeks, not months. Thirteen days ago, Tanner Hospice showed up with all of the equipment she would need to remain comfortable and they assured us they were here for the duration. And they were.
Nine days ago, in the morning, my sister and I were making plans for her to come see our mother on June 9th, by the afternoon I was telling her that she might want to come sooner rather than later. Seven days ago my mother’s hair was beginning to fall out because she was not getting enough nutrition because the cancer was eating it all, and she asked me to shave her head. Six days ago, mom did not eat anything all day and was resistant toward taking her medications. I told my sister that she needed to come even sooner.
Five days ago, we finally got mom into the hospice bed. We needed the help of hospice and the local fire department, but we got her into the bed. Up until the night before, she resisted all attempts to get her into the hospice bed. She knew that once she went into it she was not going to come out of it. Four days ago, my sister arrived just after noon and mom was alert enough to talk to her and hold her hand. Three days ago, the hospice nurse had to increase mom’s medication because she was showing signs of increased pain. Two days ago, in the morning, mom’s breathing became more labored, and hospice told us to be ready by Sunday.
Forty-eight hours ago, I walked into mom’s room to sit with her. As I sat with her, I talked to her about all of the love we had for her. I talked about the value of the life lessons she taught me, I reminded her about some of our more memorable birding trips, I laughed about our “fierce competitions” in Words With Friends, and I then I thanked her for everything. She was the mom that God sent for my sister and I, and God doesn’t make mistakes. I walked out of her room at 5:22pm to talk to my sister for a few moments, and when I returned at 5:25pm, she was gone.
Sharon Moore Barrett (I won’t post her middle name here because she hated it), age 74, of Carrollton, Georgia, was born into eternal life on Saturday, June 3, 2017 after a brief, but courageous, battle with cancer. She was born in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada on January 14, 1943. She was the daughter of the late William Stewart Gregg and the late Helen Ann McKechnie (Moore) Chilimpis. Sharon was retired from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, where she worked as a records supervisor.
Sharon immigrated to the United States with her mother and sister, Sandra, on June 7, 1944 via the Great Northern Railway at Blaine, Washington. Her mother married William Strother “Pete” Moore on September 4th, 1948, and she and her sister were adopted by Grandpa Pete on August 22, 1950. She was raised and lived most of her life in and around the Las Vegas area, including Boulder City. After her own two children she loved the LVMPD most of all. Although she retired many years ago, not a day went by without a story about her days at the old Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the merger with the Las Vegas Police Department, or the many different events with LVMPD. People will always remember her for her beautiful hair, her shrimp dip, and her pea green Mustang II that got flooded underneath the old City Hall in the 1970’s. But, we will always remember her as the best role model and friend that two children could ask for.
Survivors include one daughter, Katherine Barrett of New Albany, Indiana; one son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Joyce Barrett of Carrollton, Georgia; three grandsons, Joshua Barrett, Joseph Barrett, Jacob Barrett, of Carrollton, Georgia; as well as two nephews; three nieces, two great-nieces, and several cousins.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her adoptive father, William Strother Moore; her step-father, Thomas George Chilimpis, her sister, Sandra Ann Gove; her uncle, Robert McKechnie; and her cousin, John McKechnie.
Sharon requested no service or memorial, but did request that any donations in her memory be made to Tanner Hospice of Carrollton, Georgia at 101 Clinic Avenue, Carrollton, Georgia, 30117, specifically in support of sitter services. If hospice services had the resources for sitter service, more people could pass into eternal life in the comfort of their own homes surrounded by loved ones.