I share things on this blog in an effort to have a record of my journey. I document my life for the world to see, in the hopes that I can find human connection and support, through experiencing life together.
Today, I share my real life. Just like every other day. I have written posts about my mother and our life together. We didn’t have the most conventional beginning. I was born to an unwed, sixteen year old child. We kind of learned to maneuver through that together.
We’ve had ups and downs. She was never the warm and fuzzy type. The examples that she was raised with, didn’t teach her anything about love or parenting. She didn’t know how to love or how to be loved. As I got older, I began to understand the impact of that more. She rarely told me that she loved me but she definitely showed me, in her own way.
There were difficult years in our relationship. She seemed angry. Over what, she never shared. We didn’t have that type of closeness. I think that fact made me angry, too. At times our already strained mother/daughter relationship would become even more so. It came in ebbs and flows.
I got married and started having babies of my own. Then I finally understood unconditional love. Which gave me more insight into my mother. Everything she had been through, had created her. I had compassion for her. She was an incredibly strong woman who had done everything she could to give me a chance in life. Even back when it was just a sixteen year old kid and a tiny baby.
Then somewhere along the way my mother evolved. All of the anger that she had carried around was gone. She doesn’t know exactly why or when it happened. She just felt lighter. She became a different person. She became a mother. Of course, she had always been a mother. She always took care of me. But she became the mother that I had often envied others having.
She was compassionate and loving. She called me every day, just to see how my life was going. We were able to laugh and talk in a way that we had never done before. Instead of someone to bicker with, I felt like I had a friend. She told me that she was proud of me. She was proud of the woman who I had become. She was my number one fan. Exactly what a mother should be. She told me that she loved me.
For the last seven years or so, we have gotten close. I am so grateful for that. I am even more grateful that my mother found an inner peace. She has a much calmer existence. She feels love in her heart. And she had nothing left to prove to the world.
I am not going to lie. This is where it gets hard. I type this post with tears in my eyes. My mother’s journey is changing. She started having a seemingly harmless symptom. A trip to the doctor. Medicine. Then a new symptom. This one more serious. Another trip to the doctor.
Her doctor referred her to a gynecologist. She needed an exam to know what was happening inside her body. Another week of waiting for that appointment. I don’t live close to my mother, so I was home waiting for a phone call. I was sure it wasn’t anything serious. My mother is only 59.
I answered the phone: What did they figure out?
Her response: It’s not good.
In that instant, my eyes began to sting. There was a ringing in my ears. I had a lump in my throat. There was silence for what seemed like eternity, as we both sat there trying to process what was happening. What COULD be happening.
Next step, an appointment with an oncologist. It still takes my breath away. The word oncologist. Listening to that word come out of my mother’s mouth. It just seemed surreal. After the call ended, I just sat there in silence. Stunned.
The day arrived. With me being a good distance away and having family responsibilities, my mother asked her best friend to go with her. She told me not to worry. If she needed anything, she would let me know. So once again, I was left waiting by the phone. Except this day was excruciating. And excruciatingly long.
I could think of nothing else. I had already cried for two solid days. How could I still have tears to cry? I couldn’t believe how rapidly the situation was spiraling out of our control. Life changes happen in an instant. But never before to her. Not like this.
The oncologist set her up for a procedure. He had examined her to the best of his ability but he needed a camera to go in and be his eyes. After that, there would be answers. She said when she asked the doctor if it was cancer, he only replied that he was “suspicious.”
Suspicious. Suspicious of cancer. In my mother’s body. The one person on this planet who had been with me from the very start. I don’t know my biological father. It has just been her. She has always been my constant.
So this is where we wait. I can feel her sense of urgency. My entire life has been in limbo. Nothing feels as it should right now. I am scared. I am terrified. I can’t hear it said out loud. I am just not ready.
I am strong. I got that from her. She is my example. As I type this I feel like I am hanging suspended, scared to exhale. Braced to completely come apart. Yet knowing that is not an option.
If there is a war to fight, she needs me. If she runs out of strength, I will be there to hold her up, for as long as it takes. Everyone says, be positive. Be positive. Positive is my motto. But my foundation was rocked in a sense last week. Although you live your life knowing bad things will happen, there is never a right time. Or a good time. It is always cruelly unfair. And you never truly understand it until it affects someone you love.
So here I sit. Pleading for the best. Dreading the worst. Questioning what the worst even is. I am perched somewhere between falling to pieces and finding a strength that I didn’t even know that I had.
With age I am learning that you have to lean on people. You have to let other people help you. You don’t have to get through painful times alone. If my mother needs my help, I am there. And if that is the case, I will find comfort in knowing that I don’t have to do it all alone.