When I was 16 my best friend’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember, very vividly, standing in my living room while she told me. She cried a little and I hugged her and I was sort of happy.
I know that sounds like the worst thing ever, I know. I was just so relieved, I had a sick mother too and maybe now I could have someone to talk to about it. Maybe someone else would understand.
The day V’s mom went into remission I cried a lot, even though this period of cancer had not been the “sharing of feelings fest”I had hoped for. V barely talked about her mother’s cancer unless she was complaining about how it was affecting her life. I was painfully jealous, her Mom could be cured. A little under a year of crap and she was fine while my mother just got worse and worse.
I’m such a good friend. Clearly.
When I was living at home I was constantly bombarded by my Mother’s MS. It was in my thoughts always and the best way I can describe it… is like a dull headache, or a sore back. Its there and it sucks but you just get on with your life. Mostly I just got angry. For me, anger was a lot easier to fix. I would scream my brains out, I would throw something, play loud music, write long bitchy journal entries, have a long sexual text conversation with whatever guy I was fooling around with at the time and made myself feel powerful, I would sneak the van out at 3 am when nobody was on the road and drive it down route 95 north at 100 miles an hour. After any of these I was able to quell the headache, the backache. It went back to its normal state of present but quiet.
I rarely cried then, except when I was alone, or with my Dad. I once had such a bad fight with my mom over her not taking her medication that he had to come and get me because I swore to him on the phone that I was going to hit her. I was going to, and I’ve never really hit anyone in my life but I know that that night I would have. He was living in a basement apartment in Winchester at the time and it was absolutely freezing no matter how high you turned the heat up. I sat on the futon, which used to live at my house but had moved away along with him. I cried so much I made myself sick. I literally cried for hours straight, just wailed until I gave myself the chills and a fever and was on the verge of puking. He wrapped me in this pink blanket that we had called the “space blanket” when I was young and I remember being pissed when, the first winter after he had moved out I realized he had taken it with him. He let me keep it wrapped around myself when he finally drove me home and its been mine ever since. Even though his apartment was sub zero and he needed every blanket he could get.
Thats the kind of stuff my Dad does, and has always done for me. My Mom used to do that back in the day too. Before she was sick. But now she’s too depressed to think of anybody else.
Once I went away to college it got better. One day I woke up and I was free and I wasn’t so perpetually pissed. Until I had to go home for Thanksgiving Break and I laid in my dorm bed and cried.
And I have been crying ever since.
The anger is just replaced with sadness.
Because when I had to see my Mom suffer every day I could deal, but seeing it every couple of months? Its almost worse.
Every time I come home its worse. She can’t use the walker anymore, or she has to use adult diapers now. Its always something.
And I don’t have ways to make this better. I can’t stop the crying. All I can do is try and numb myself. Or sleep until I have to be awake. Or throw myself into a project. But the sadness is always there, threatening to embarrass me by making me burst into tears into public. Being in love, it helps as much as it can but its hard when I don’t have the luxury of being able to kiss him everyday. And I can imagine listening to someone cry on the phone nightly is boring and difficult.
Tonight, as I try to sleep so I can go with my Mother to an open house tomorrow for a nursing home that she needs to move into, I am finding it hard to stop crying.
I put on a podcast to help me think of other things, and the story is about a mother who had terminal cancer but decided she still wanted to be an influence on her 16 year old daughter’s life. She wrote her tons of letters on her deathbed and instructed her husband to deliver them to their daughter once a year on her birthday. She also included one for her wedding day.
And its not fair. This is not something I will ever have. Likely when my mom dies she will have long lost control over her body as well as her mind. I have not received a birthday present from my Mother in 4 years. If she’s alive when I get married her presence will not be soothing and motherly, it will disrupt everything,require special arrangements, stress me out and make me jealous and sad of some poor girl whose mother DIED. Dead and gone.
And its just. Not fair. And I’m just going to cry until I’m dehydrated.