Mom Is A+
It is 1:13pm on Friday, September 15th. I'm sitting in Mom's hospital room. She had surgery two days ago for a recurrence of her cancer. It's been a really rough week-plus, but we are all hanging in, laughing even. Mom is doing quite well, cracking irreverent jokes, walking laps around the hospital hall, bemoaning current events with us daughters who are cycling in and out of this small room. We were just chatting with her lovely nurse about blood types and how so few of us know our own types and it turns out that Mom's is A+. Which is so funny and fitting because Mom is a star, even during this shitty time.
I'm feeling overwhelmed, but also optimistic.
Overwhelmed because a beautiful, peaceful summer ended with this - symptoms, a trip to urgent care, another (successful) surgery. Overwhelmed because things can change so quickly. Expect the unexpected, they say.
But optimistic, too. Optimistic because Mom is so strong - in body and in mind. I've been continually inspired by how she's handled the past almost two years since her original diagnosis. She's weathered three surgeries and two rounds of chemo beautifully, barely skipping a beat. She's continued to travel and to have meals with her incomparable friends. Her attitude has been remarkably philosophical and positive, an attitude of day by day and I'm going to live my life and look fabulous and this itself has been a priceless gift to us girls. We aren't going to sulk and curse the universe if she's not going to.
And so here I am. We are. The sun is shining through the window and finding me, a daughter in a pink sweater who simply loves her mom to pieces. The fear I felt days ago, before surgery, has lifted some, morphing into fierce love and determination. Mom has the best doctors. And the best daughters, too.
I haven't written much about Mom's health here on the blog. I've felt that this is all kind of private, and it is. I've felt like this is Mom's story, her experience, but the truth is that it is also mine. I am living this too and writing about it helps and clarifies. Also: I want to share bits of this with all of you because I know that you care and I know that you are going through stuff too, stuff that is bigger or smaller, of a similar or different flavor. Goodness, we all are. Life is tricky business and there is irrefutable redemption in story, in sharing, in the soothing heartbeat, of Me too.
This morning, Mom asked if I had posted anything to my blog in a while and I told her that I hadn't. Somewhat joking, I asked if I could write about all of this and she was quick to say yes, I could, but maybe I could read it to her first? I felt something unlatching in me as she expressed this willingness, a sense of meaning, of expansion, a glimmer of relief. This is what I'm going through, this is what is shaping me. I am a writer and I want to write about it.
My life right now is about family. About getting Mom recovered and home. About spending my days in a hospital room with Donnelley women talking and laughing and spending my afternoons picking up my own babes from school. This is their first week back and they are happy and their happiness is nothing but medicinal. It's also soccer season again and there is something singularly therapeutic about sitting on the sidelines watching my tough girls play and play hard. Something symbolic, poetic.
Anyway, this is just a little update, an overdue hello. Life is complicated, but it is also gorgeous and I am grateful to be here, right here, even in this unasked-for room, watching my beautiful mom rest up for all the good times to come. When she wakes up from her nap, I will read her these words.
The hard stuff teaches us how to live, guys, and how to love. I believe this more than ever.