Tag Archive for grief

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. 

 

 

Dating in a Post-Mom World.

I was going to call this “A World Without Mom,” but that is a popular title online already. Great minds think alike.

I’m not exactly sure where I want to go with this post, but though I miss my mom every minute of every day, some days are harder than others.

I know I’m having a bad time when I go online to buy shirts with cats on them. Yeah, I did that.

My mom loved cats because her dad loved cats. I will always have them.

Dating has been interesting. I don’t date much. This is obvious because I rarely post on here. I’m not getting material, and I don’t want to write garbage (arguably). There are also some guys I have respected enough to not post about when it didn’t work out. And I am picky, so picky, much to my dad’s delight. I’ve only ever introduced one guy to him. That lying ex o’mine.

I no longer feel a rush to date anyone, because I no longer have my mom. I don’t have to worry if she will get to meet the person I want to be with before she dies. I wanted that person, if they exist, to know my mom and how wonderful she was. They will still know this through me, but it’s still not the same.

They will not get to play cards with her and see what a sore loser she is. Or experience her wicked writing style, the notes she’d send me, how she tended to her beautiful enviable garden. How dedicated she was to her daughter, driving her to piano lessons, making all the costumes for her dance recitals, attending ALL high school basketball games, no matter how far. How just one month before she died, she helped me sweep the kitchen floor of the Folsom apartment I was about to leave for my new adventure in beauty college, even though she thought I was nuts. How she took care of her mom’s mean sister who was diagnosed with cancer weeks after her, both fighting incurable cancers. My mom’s pretty red hair and freckles and toothy smile. The beauty mark on her cheek. And her perfect upturned nose. It was really perfect, even after she broke it. It was so tiny.

They would never see how strong she was and see her smile still through her cancer pain. For eight years.

And I knew the cancer would take her eventually.

I remember sitting by my mom in the hospital not long before she passed. It was in the evening, and my brother and I were watching some television. We were sitting on either side of her bed. She’d stopped speaking and waking up a few days earlier, and we didn’t think she could hear us anymore. We were just waiting.

My brother said he was talking with his girlfriend about how sad they were she only got to meet Mom four times (in two-and-a-half years; they only live in San Francisco).

I glared at my brother. He was clueless. Insensitive. Rude. And he’d been largely uninvolved.

And it showed how little they thought of me.

I told him that had been one of my worst nightmares, for Mom never to meet my love, to be alone when Mom went, and thank you for reminding me.

But the rest of my attention was on Mom. I had been the most clingy of my dad, brother and me. I rarely left the hospital, and I went to sleep in her room very late every night, wondering if she’d still be there when I woke up.

And it went on for two weeks. She wouldn’t let go, and I couldn’t let go.

Dating. Back to dating. I was undateable for a very long time after that. While my mother was not young when she died, she was still only 63. She’d fought for eight, very long years.

And so while I am picky when it comes to dating, I’m also often just not in the mood. Still. I love my dad. We have our ups and downs. But he’s pretty much all I have left. And I enjoy spending time with him.

However, I do not feel the rush to find anyone anymore. It’s just different with my dad. Or maybe I’m just tired of putting deadlines on my life.

I also can’t talk to my dad about dating. He’s my dad. And I’m the only female left in the family. It’s actually rough because he and my brother often don’t get me.

My mom did, though. We were more alike than any two people I know. I wish she were here to complain to or cry to about guys who are jerks or to share good dating news. I know she wanted me to be happy.

I never thought EVER though that my parents would not know my partner. That is something only people who have lost parents at a young age can truly understand, especially if you were close to your parents.

Dad has diabetes and Stage 2b melanoma. I am tired of illness, and I’m not even the one fighting.

When I have days, weeks like these, dating is blah. I am not even in the mood. I’ve had worse times, though. I think March is just starting to stress me out.

And on the eve of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, I find myself missing my mom a lot more. Next month, I will be flying to Washington, D.C., for the third time to meet with other colorectal cancer prevention advocates to speak to our Members of Congress and U.S. Senators to try and convince them to support colorectal cancer prevention and awareness. I have to talk about Mom. No, I GET to talk about Mom.

It’s been difficult to convince some. If it’s not breast cancer awareness, they seem to not want anything to do with it, or if they’re Republican, they think it’s not government’s job to get involved.

I also resent walking into Safeway and other huge retailers to find no royal blue or blue ribbons anywhere. Folks who have had any cancer or know someone with any cancer besides breast cancer will know what I mean.

I’d like to compel the few folks who read this blog to beg your parents and grandparents, any people you love, to get screened for colorectal cancer. I would never wish what happened to my family to happen to yours. Had my mom been screened sooner, she might still be here today.

She would actually very likely be here today.

Colorectal cancer is one of the easiest cancers to cure if caught EARLY. Yet, it’s still the second-deadliest form of cancer between men and women in the United States. WHY is that.

I mostly just wish you all could have met my mom. In April, it will have been 10 years since she was diagnosed. Ten years since I last remember her healthy. It will have been 11 years since she had the cancer, though. Docs said it had been growing a year…and caught too late.

She was sweet. And she suffered greatly. Cancer is cruel.

Brace yourselves for endless posts about your colon next month. The butt cancer is not funny.

But it’s all for Mom. Her name was Diane.

Mom.