Tag Archive for cheryl strayed

Cancer is rude.

Ughhh. I still have another post to write about the amazing 10 to 12 minutes I had last Thursday reading from my first published book OUT LOUD. For the record, I’ve started writing that blog post and it’s saved under “drafts” in my super sneaky behind-the-scenes website dashboard. It’s lonely and waiting to burst with good news, but it will have to wait. Blog posts have feelings, too.

I’m almost two weeks into a Biggest Loser competition at work. I was very good the first week. Only kind of good the second week. I really want to fit into my dresses again. Just a few more pounds to go.

So, at the gym and looking for a new distraction when I’m done trying to read and do cardio at the same time, I checked Netflix for something to watch and found what I thought was a goldmine. GOLD. MINE.

About six seasons of Grey’s Anatomy I absolutely need to catch up on.

I loved that show when it started, and so did my folks. After I left my circus job and moved back into my parents’ house, we continued to watch, and then we stopped: it was just too sad.

Mom was fighting Stage 4 cancer. Lots of people on Grey’s Anatomy die from cancer. And there is always some great indie song playing in the background while it happens, and Drs. McDreamy and McSteamy continue to look too handsome while acting sad and concerned.

I can confirm that does not happen in real life. HOWEVER, there was one really good-looking nurse who was married, sadly. I remember my parents’ good friend was sitting next to Mom’s bed while quizzing this guy’s marital status for me. It was a thumbs down for me. I looked like a slob anyway.

Back to Grey’s, The last episode I remember seeing was the nuclear-level depressing episode where George dies and everyone thinks Izzy has died…from cancer.

Take the one minute to watch this last scene, and you’ll see why we all stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy.

So, I’m on the third episode now of whatever season. Izzy lived. And then something totally unrelated to cancer in this episode reminded me of my mom and this one time I was rude to her and still feel really bad about it.

We were at BJ’s Brewhouse in Roseville near the Galleria. We were in a circular booth with Dad, Ethan, his stupid girlfriend*, Mom and me. The server spilled something and it got onto my mom’s shoe and she gave a look like the server was a stupid idiot.

(*My brother’s girlfriend already knows how I feel about her. She’s rude, coincidentally. And she brings out the “rude” in me apparently.)

My mom was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I am still of this opinion today. However, we all have our non-princess moments.

I said in a short tone to her, “It was an accident, Mom.” And she looked stung.

The rest of the meal, Mom looked down into her food, playing with it because she didn’t feel well, and she didn’t say another word. I felt terrible. I mean, she had cancer. She could be rude.

This is the reason I can’t eat at the BJ’s in Roseville anymore. It was also the place we ate for lunch the last day she was kind of lucid. I remember she kept just poking at her food, saying that she’d ordered chicken but they gave her something else. It was actually chicken, and I’d said so. She said, “Oh.” And I remember looking at dad and thinking oh my fucking god. The end is starting. This was late in July of 2011.

I had a mini-ugly cry while on the elliptical at my apartment community’s gym while remembering the BJ’s moment and left so the person running next to me wouldn’t think I was spreading my slobbery snot all over the elliptical handle bars. I can’t fake “allergy sniffles” because I don’t have allergies.

And then I started to remember all the other times I was rude to her. One hot summer day, she’d wanted to see a movie, I think. I had too but she hadn’t been feeling well and tried to talk her out of it. She insisted on going and I said okayyyyyy. I was dubious.

We were almost to the destination in Roseville somewhere (not some far away place). I was driving her in her own little Pontiac, the car I now own. Suddenly, she said she really didn’t feel well and needed to go home. I remember making some remark that I’d known she was too ill, some I-told-you-so crap, and it made her feel small. But I really was pissed in that moment at my mom and her cancer. They were a stupid solid unit and had been for the previous eight years. I couldn’t even remember how it felt to have a mom without cancer.

And then the worst. About two weeks before she died. Dad and I had been up about 36 hours together straight, dealing with Mom. She kept walking around the house with her eyes closed and running into things, reminding us over and over again we were conspiring against her for something, refusing to sit down, picking up ceramic things to throw at us, and then finally, she wouldn’t eat a sandwich I’d made for her.

I think it was dark out and I was exhausted. The most exhausted I’d ever been. No sleep for almost 36 hours and mentally exhausted at watching the slow and strange death process we were experiencing and thinking it couldn’t get any worse. (It sadly did.)

Mom wouldn’t sit down on the couch. Her eyes were closed, and she was smirking. And she was being flip with me, her daughter, who was trying to take care of her and feed her a fucking sandwich.

I’d had it and I just started yelling at her. I also knew it was not my mom anymore, thanks to the cancer and drugs making her that very rude way at that rude moment. I’d already decided she was not Mom anymore. Just some annoying shell who looked like my mom and who wouldn’t eat her sandwich.

“You and your cancer have ruined my life!” Man, I yelled that so hard I was worried the neighbors had heard it.

I went on.

“You’ve ruined my relationships! I can’t enjoy anything! My life exists around your cancer!”

GAWD, I was terrible. I was RUDE. She just kept smirking.

I said something other things. I don’t really remember what. But I’d had it with that fucking cancer.

She didn’t hear it though really. She was out of it. She wasn’t there. I learned later that she was still in there when the drugs to manage her pain wore away. And then I understood why docs give their patients drugs that make them that way for that level of pain. It’s terrible to see anyone in that amount of pain off of those drugs. My poor mom.

Every joyous experience I’d had since her diagnosis was clouded very darkly with that cancer. Every phone call home was about cancer. Every week I had off from work, I was flying home to see her because of that cancer. Every stomach ache was from the cement block sitting there because of the cancer.

CANCER IS RUDE!

It makes you rude, too. My mom had the right to be rude to the server who spilled food on her shoe. I was rude because I was mad at the cancer for invading my mom and then justifying her own rudeness.

Cancer is still rude because it consumed a lot of my day. I wanted to work on my special projects, the reason I take every other Monday off from work, but I kept thinking about those times I was rude to my mama. Just couldn’t shake it today.

I may hold off on watching any more Grey’s Anatomy. Maybe I will try Six Feet Under. ;)

EvR

P.S. This article below is pretty great but sad. I began to read it and was reminded for the 23rd time today how rude DEATH is and wrote this depressing blog post. My favorite author, Cheryl Strayed, shared it on Facebook. I’m grateful (and again sad) to finally know so many others in the “Dead Parent Club.” And it’s why folks write these articles (and rude blog posts) too, you know? So you know you’re not alone.

Good read >>>> Before You Know It, Something’s Over.