There are moments in life when everything suddenly becomes prioritized. What seemed to be of great importance yesterday now is a distant memory and unfortunately this new found perspective is usually the result of bad news. I wish I had the ability to grasp what is really important without an accompanying tragedy. But I suppose only a few can in the fast paced society that so easily takes over our lives.
In early September my mom was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I am not the type who gets overly anxious about bad news because I need to understand all the factors. In my mind there is a fixable answer to everything and nothing is final until every single resource is exhausted. So upon hearing the news from my dad I was concerned but emotionally, very detached.
Almost immediately she was put through a battery of tests and a few were very intrusive. There were also countless appointments with therapists, nutritionists and surgeons to widdle down the appropriate treatment. Most of the tests’ outcome were good but a few were not. Really, until the surgery the long term prognosis is unknown. And at 9am tomorrow she goes in for the surgery.
Still, up until a few hours ago this hasn’t been very real for me. I have been living here in the Northwest thinking that solution for the cancer is an ongoing battle placed in the hands of the most competent professionals that the medical science community has to offer. Everyday I call home to see what the parents are up to and it seems that the days are full of activity and fun and not thoughts of illness. I wanted to fly in for the surgery but they insisted I stay and save my time off for the holidays and now I am wishing I was home.
Today I talked with Mom and she is fasting and drinking a clear liquid that was given to her in preparation for tomorrow. I could hear the nervousness in her voice as we talked not of tomorrow but of Thanksgiving and how excited Dad was over the Redsox on Saturday. Some of the extended family is coming in town later in the week to help out and we discussed whether my 81 year old Grandmother was capable of driving the family Volvo suv around Roswell, Georgia. Then the air of lighthearted conversation turned to the reality of uncertainty.
My Mom and I are not as close as my Dad and I are. We are just very different people in personalities. That doesn’t mean that we fought all the time but being an only child, I would imagine she felt on the outside a lot. These things weigh heavy on my heart now and today when she told me that she was proud of me, that she loved me and that no matter what happens she can be at peace knowing she was the best mother she could be, the cancer became real.
I try to live my life free of hate and regret. These emotions are a waste of time and energy and after a while, they will kill you. But I still feel them. I hate cancer. I hate how it can indiscriminately come and take a loved one away. I hate the fact that I put rational thought before reaching out and being there emotionally. I hate the thought of my Dad wandering the halls of the hospital. I hate the thought of him eating alone in the hospital cafeteria. I regret that I couldn’t wait one fucking hour until my Mom came home from a meeting to leave for Idaho because I was worried I would hit traffic in Knoxville, Tennessee. I can’t remember when I hugged her last.
We got off the phone and I said I loved her very much and there was nothing to worry about. Inside I wanted to burst but right now she needs strength and not weakness. I know that the surgery, while very serious, is not uncommon. Millions of people are survivors and this is a struggle shared by a large percentage of the world. I understand all that but this is my Mom. And the night before an operation, there is a sense that the battle is only fought by the three of us.
So tonight, I think I will sit outside for a while and watch the sky. I always feel a sense of vitality when in nature. I can’t say if I feel closer to God, since I haven’t been very close to him/her in many years. We sort of have an understanding; I live a good life and He/She protects my family and friends. Which now leads me to wonder what I have done so badly that I haven’t already paid for. But I don’t think God is a “tit for tat’ kind of creator.
Sorry that this post isn’t the kind of light and humorous (or sick) post that I usually write. A very good friend of mine recently told me the good thing about a blog is that when you write something, it then becomes real. Almost making your feelings tangible in a way. I say that is true.
I love my Mom. And she is going to beat this.