F@%k Cancer, Part 8

Mom had barely made it to Christmas but my grandmother hadn’t. Oh boy! My phone was blown up with messages of worry and urgency. The timing was brilliant and convenient, bare with me, assuming you believe grandma knew of the cancer and opted to avoid burying her firstborn. Between flight prices and obligations I decided to skip the holiday visit altogether. Mom had left grandma’s funeral paid so there was no physical reason for me to be there. Grandma was 90. Her departure, although sad, was expected and warranted. I was surprised she was still kicking. Titi definitely took excellent care of her momma! ❤

If skipping the holidays made me a bad daughter and granddaughter, so be it!

Mentally, I wasn’t prepared to see my mother confined to a bed. The end of our MBA quarter was tougher than expected and I hoped she knew I had to protect myself from the effects of overexertion and the shock of her illness’quick progression. I don’t think people understood the magnitude of my grief, how it made me closed off and bitter. The latter came from the confirmation that the hospice care staff was out of the office enjoying the holiday using the implied excuse that “the patients will die anyway” to take their sweet time administering services, callously falling short of the contract and expectations of care. They incurred the wrath of my sister, a formidable foe that will not hesitate to cut you down with sarcasm and the power of a thousand suns, in full Super Sayin IV mode. As paying customers, we wanted to be delighted and satisfied with their services, but they never fully lived up to the hype nor convinced us they cared about anything more than getting paid. 🤔 Mom was paying for and deserved the best attention and quality treatment. How could we effectively get them to listen and perform in such a short time scale?

Death doesn’t care if we are born into money or not. If we are lucky our loved ones will mourn and dispose of our bodies in the appropriate biohazard proof container. You can’t take anything with you when you go. Sounds bleak, and cynical but that doesn’t make it any less true. Considering no one has returned from the land of the deceased it must be heaven; no one has come back from death dissatisfied. Maybe all of our ancestors are waiting for us to return to the homestead, for our souls to replenish and, under some beliefs, reincarnate. Truth be told it doesn’t matter what version you ascribe to since in the end we all leave this Earth better or worse than we found it. You become eternal for as long as those left behind keep the love shared alive.

Grief is love with no place to go…or in our case, anger that is used to construct not tear down.

Stuck in the PNW, by choice not force, I’ve turned to finishing some woodworking and home projects to pass the time and relax the mind. The intent backfires every time I mess something up. The Hulk Smash in me, unlike my sister’s, can be quelled by the rational Dr Banner scientific method approach. The whirlwind of emotions suppressed by the emergence of a Wonder Woman peacemaker mentality. Nothing I do to distract from the fact my mom is dying works out. W, my husband, can’t process the amount of pain I feel. To him I look normal, a bit frazzled but nothing he hasn’t seen before. My self-help, self-awareness attitude shielding us both from the deep sea of emotions steadied by the sheer power of my resolve.

Watching Aquaman and Bumblebee at the movies wasn’t much help to keep my mind distracted. All of the Xmas movies have been about losing a parent recently, and my fragile heart and mind struggled to handle it. What’s with the trope that the hero/heroine has to be an orphan on a quest to find a suitable vessel for their grief? We all have an origin story, and for superheroes, its often modified to suit a purpose. Can someone adjust my story? I’m overwhelmed with a desire to rip the authors of my screenplay a new one. This was not how it was supposed to go. This is not how mom’s journey was supposed to end either. What did we ever do to deserve this? Ugh!!! Who do I yell “CUT!” to in order to refire the scene? The editor staff are not going to hear the end of this either. This whole adaptation is a mess. Can this whole production be saved? By what? By whom?

These are the questions that keep me up at night. My cellphone starts buzzing, frantically, with messages full of sorrow, despair, and the awkwardly placed holiday cheer. To top it off, the family ended up burying grandma on Christmas Eve. After 90 years on this planet, 10 without her beloved husband of 54 anniversaries, she decided it was time to report back to the mothership. Her funeral was a true labor of love from a family that endures. I am grateful for them all, the cast and crew that make it all possible. The fire and ice that shapes me, to this very day, into a gritty and generous individual.

This, all this, shall pass. To what end? I don’t know. Time will have to tell on this one…

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