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The year from hell. And you thought that was bad.
My mom got sick one year ago. Bodies remember anniversaries, and mine seems to be tightening up in anticipation of a blow.



Things have been hard, but not in the way I anticipated. My mom has not needed me to nurse her. She has dealt with whopping amounts of chemotherapy, major surgery, and the prospect of this cancer's inevitable return. And she's been a tank, pushing through this, working throughout, and marveling at how well she's adjusting.



And me, I've been a lot less graceful in this than I thought I'd be. Some people are surprised to find that they are a lot better under stress than they'd ever imagined. As for me, I always pictured I'd be a selfless cheerleader with bottomless resource of strength and positivity. But my reality has been a bit messier, more petulant, less graceful.


"And you thought that was bad," my grandmother used to say. She and her friends would go to a local waffle restaurant in Vancouver, stain their coffee cups with bright red lipstick and compare tragic tales in a morbid game of tzorres one-upsmanship.


I have that image in my mind as I write this. So here goes.


I posted about my old friend's mom who was diagnosed in a not-so-joyful coincidence with the same kind of cancer as my mom. After a year's struggle, and with her whole family at her side, she died. Chris and I attended her memorial last week. What a beautiful woman. What beautiful testimonials on her life. At the end of the ceremony they played The Byrds singing "Turn, Turn, Turn". I'd never liked that song I always found it too cheesy or something. I don't feel that way anymore. The song was perfect. What a perfect, loving family, I thought. 'Your mom got to go into remission,' they said, not unkindly, just shell-shocked.


I have a brave friend who is the most fragile/strong person I've ever met. She was fearful of travel when she embarked on her first solo trip. Amazingly, on that journey she fell in love with a man who had little sophistication, but a wise heart and lust for life. She left her job, her friends, and everything she knew to marry and live with him. After a few blissful years together, he was diagnosed with advanced cancer and was gone within a year. And she nursed him all alone. With no support system, no air conditioning in tropical heat, and sporadic medical help. She came by to visit this weekend and told me her story, her year from hell.


And you thought that was bad, my Grandmother would say knowingly, blotting her lipstick on a napkin or a package of sweet'n'low. And I'd brace myself for another story, another blow. She told of spots of happiness marred by long stretches of tragedy. And I don't - I won't - accept that's how life is.


In this year since my mother's diagnosis (when I've been whining and succumbing to the gloom of this spectre), 3 of my friends have lost a parent, one friend a spouse, and one is watching her mother die of the a rare degenerative disease (having lost her father to the very same condition one year prior). I have no wisdom today. Just hug your loved ones.


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2.10.2011
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post #1523
bio: adina
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2/10/2011
23:25

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