Archive for cancer

Marital Mondays: Picking Fights

I started watching Scandal, starring Kerry Washington, this weekend. I haven’t watched any TV (other than an occasional Raising Hope or Community) since Alphas went off. Scandal is great. The only problem was watching it on Hulu, where they played a million ProFlowers Mother’s Day ads. I don’t think about my mother often. It’s normally when one of the kids asks me something about her. That doesn’t usually bother me, but these ads got to me for some reason.

I know I’m a mother, and that Mother’s Day is for me, too. Even though, the last couple of Mother’s Day celebrations have been awesome for me, I just don’t really think of me first. I think of my mom. Then I think of how I can barely even remember her voice anymore. I’m reminded that she’s not here to experience my kids, and even worse, that Fuss never met her. She never will. I didn’t push the feelings away. I just sat with them. I didn’t feel like writing, so I didn’t post a blog Monday (That’s why Marital Mondays is posting today). I didn’t want to act like a prospective “millionaire” and phone a friend either. Instead, I did something really stupid. I picked a completely unrelated fight with Hannibal.

The only thing is, he didn’t fight back. Arguing with myself is the most awkward (and not rewarding) thing, so I eventually just fell asleep. I don’t know if he was even sure what was happening. Hell, I wasn’t sure. I addressed him in a tone that was not our normal way of speaking to each other (Think PMS mixed with a little early labor). He just agreed with everything I said and steered clear of the fire.

In the morning, I felt even more awful. It was only Tuesday night that I realized this had all stemmed from leftover grief, because it got worse. I didn’t cry. I just seemed to bark at everything and everybody that got in my way yesterday. I was easily overwhelmed. My martyr complex took over, and it was just an ugly day. I was reminded of all of the horrible things that happened surrounding her death.  For example, Hannibal wasn’t very supportive after she died.  He didn’t know how to handle anything I was going through, and he pawned me off on three of my friends, Felicia, Evan and Brandi — hoping they could reset me to the girl he had met.  He continued with life as usual, while I was stuck in a bubble of pain, confusion, and heartache.

This morning I woke up and meditated in bed. I focused on joy afterward, and the cloud seems to be moving. I wouldn’t say it’s gone, but I can definitely see the sun peeking through.


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Thematic Thursdays: Moving on for Mother’s Day

Until I read a friend’s status update Wednesday, which suggested that we post a picture of our mothers as our profile picture on Facebook, I didn’t realize Mother’s Day was right around the corner. “But … I haven’t felt my annual gloom or lit the candles for my self-pity party” I thought. I guess I’m so focused on being a mother myself, that the loss just isn’t as heavy anymore.

Sure, I wish my kids had their grandmother — to read to them, hug them, and impart that extra wisdom like grandmas do. Hell, I wish my mom was here on the days when I want to scream, “How the f@%k does anyone raise two kids at the same time? Aggghhhhh!!!!” I’m comfortable, though. I’m also as busy as channel 13 when the cable gets turned off, so this year it snuck up on me.

I think I’m strong enough now to actually do what she tried to do from the moment I was born — cut the cord. I’m going to focus on myself this Mother’s Day. I’ve worked so hard at putting the things she taught me to good use. My kids are benefitting from my mother very much without even really knowing her. So, I don’t think I’m going to be putting a picture of my mother as my Facebook profile picture this year. I’m going to find one of me and my kids and focus on the mother that my mom is helping me become. RIP, Mama.

P.S. Considering that I stabbed myself last Mother’s Day, the years have to get progressively better.  That’s just science.


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Real Life: Watching Mommy’s Transition

Death gives advance warning of its arrival; can we ever really be ready? Like a sudden highway sign on a long drive this message put me on notice, I wore the words like a second skin, I sniffed the air like a cat. Our companion since birth, death’s form is our steady shadow lagging slightly behind or looming large ahead. Eventually, we will merge; dying to live we are born into death.

Death disguised as cancer was just beginning to infiltrate my world, stealing friends and the wives of friends and finally my mother. My mind was furiously caught in a web of theories, philosophies and traditions regarding the treatment of death. Feeling attached through love and enslaved by grief, logic insisted that I follow the trail and find a truth to set me free or at least one that sets me straight.

In the culmination of your life’s relationships sits this most profound place of isolation and vulnerability where you long to trust someone with your life. Even faith has form and reliability but trust is a freefall. Will basic goodness find me worthy and lovable – that’s the scream of the mind in our private darkness. The glorious staff empathized, comforted, soothed and listened. In humane and compassionate terms, they unraveled our despair and laid the groundwork for coping and coexisting with the stress and the mystery.

Eventually we could no longer tool around in the wheelchair pretending to go places – and every song had been sung. We were somewhere else now. We were as close as you can get to the fire – the inner flame. Her spirit was seeking the ocean of bliss and began the upward spiral to the portal of her crown. I said my goodbyes on Friday evening before the morphine drip was implemented.

That shall remain a singular and indescribable experience. As throughout this pilgrimage, the sacrosanct sobriety of spiritual practice was the glue that kept us and the bridge that carried us – together. Thus we entered our vigil. My mother appeared adrift in a drug-imbued cancer-ravaged vessel. I tidied her room. I spoke to her constantly. We monitored her body as the circulation withdrew from her limbs.

She was dying. The somber sound of the heart rate monitor and the stench of yesterday’s woman filled the air. Our future together was diminishing and strands of time were being woven into an heirloom – a keepsake.

Each breath was now a sacrifice, her last gift to me, moments as rare as unblemished gems, moments of rarified unity – a shared and bonding silence together.
This is when our hearts may encounter resonance; love can time travel permeating our collective karmas with the sweetness of absolution. This was a chance to become familiar with profound stillness – where we may always find one another. It was within these moments we were to find peace.

I woke up the next morning to discover her still breathing. From a faraway place my mother willed herself present to make her passage before our eyes. What happened next I can only liken to an eclipse of the moon. Amid tears and silence and encouragement from my spirit as my father stood right over her, a shadow crept up her neck slowly upwards across her face – her eyes which had been locked into a glazed half-open stare blinked in slow motion. Released from their tortured position – two blinks, slow and soft, her eyelids looked so refreshed and relaxed. Just like the eyes of a doe.

A mist floated up past her eyes and out the top of her head – a mist of light. And she let go of one soft breath and then one more – her last. Good bye Mom.

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