It hurts today. A grinding pain in my chest. I can smell her today. I remember how she smelled when I hugged her. That smell made me feel …. not safe… not loved… but.. I knew she was there. I needed her like air and that smell, the scent of her, reminded me she was there. When she died, all she smelled like was rot and salves. But when I hugged her neck, I buried my face into her cooling neck and the smell was there. My mommy’s smell. And I wept. I lay there and I wept, and my my heart shattered into a million pieces.
My mom died in August. She struggled with cancer as it ate her alive, outside and inside. Her bones were riddled with metastatic cancer, which made them brittle and throbbing with pain. It was in her shoulder, neck, back, and chest/ribs. Early on, it had passed from her breast tissue to her lymph nodes and also attached to her ribs before they could remove it. She waited too long.
Don’t wait too long, please. Pray if you want. Fast and dance and sing and speak in tongues and lay hands and whatever it is you believe in. Bathe in the blood of lamb and fill your heart with his grace if that’s what makes your heart sing. Just don’t wait too long. Get chemo. Take their drugs. Fight. With everything you have, fight. Don’t stop fighting. Don’t embrace death. Believe whatever you want, just don’t stop fighting and don’t wait to fight.
My mother waited. Two years too long. She prayed and fasted and believed that God would save her. By the time my tantrums and tears penetrated the wall of “faith” that the cult she embraced could give her, it was too late. She was riddled with cancer. She threw herself into treatment but it was too late. The damage was done. The treatments were miserable and they bought her four short years. In the end it took her mind as well as her body and left behind chaos and damage for which there is no cure.
My children lost their grandmother. I lost my mother. Yet, don’t get me wrong; there’s a part of me that is relieved. Even happy. And I’ll take the karma hit for that. She was a terrible, abusive, malignant narcissist that really only cared about herself most of her life and all of mine. She abandoned me to sitters and caregivers and never protected me from her husbands. She was always sorry but she never stopped the behavior. Not me nor my kids was ever more important than her personal needs and her “faith” in God.
But she was my mommy and I loved her. Dearly. Desperately. Unconditionally. Without end or reason. And a part of me is bleeding still, gashed from the loss of her long before I was ready to let go.
If you are reading this, and facing a diagnosis for cancer? Fight. I have nothing against faith. I have nothing against vegan diets and homeopathic cures and vitamins and supplements. Just don’t do those things INSTEAD of fighting with our given tools. Do those things ALONG SIDE those tools. Don’t wait. Don’t wait too long.
Someone will miss you. Someone will weep in the car, in the dark, missing you. Someone will regret that there will never be the years hoped for. Someone will miss you.
Thanks for listening.