Yesterday I took my Mom to Century City to see Friends With Money, then afterwards we went for a late lunch/early dinner at the newly remodeled food court. Before we got our food we were sitting talking and she said, "I have some news to share with you." I knew this was going to be bad, just knew it. She said, "My cancer has come back."
I just went into a kind of state of depressed shock and have been here ever since. She doesn't even know which lung it's in, if it's the same one, or the other one. She doesn't seem to know anything. She can't remember what the doctor told her. I'll call him tomorrow and try not to explode. I've been feeling like he neglects her cancer follow up care for a long time now. I nagged my Mother into insisting she have some basic tests. Why didn't he think of this?
My Mom doesn't like my being upset or emotional -- she's never been a big fan of feelings and since she wound up adopting me -- the queen of overflowing feelings, she's always tried to do everything she can to avoid having to experience mine. She said, "I told Jani and Pat but I wasn't sure if I was going to tell you." Great. So, knowing this, what did I do? Burst out crying and then promptly threw up my lunch.
Tomorrow she is going to have a PET scan and she refuses to let me go with her. She would rather go with Rosa, her housekeeper. I supported her all through her last go round with lung cancer, and before that I was her right hand gal for her spinal surgery. I don't know why she forgets this, but I want to make her comfortable and happy and if seeing emotion on my face is too much for her right now, then I have to support this. I'll pull it together for her, I always do, but it was a shock. She's almost ninety (July 31) and aside from Beau she's all that's left of my family.
I was adopted and my parents never had any of their own children, neither did their parents or grandparents. We're down to a family of three, if I don't count my partner and all of my cats. I also have some bio family but because my birth mother doesn't want to have contact with me, and doesn't want me to have any contact with any of them, I can hardly see any of them, have to be uber careful with contact, and can never write about any of this. Anyway, the point being that for me, my Mom is it, and I'm not prepared to let her go, despite her advanced age, which as you age, (for anyone younger than I am), you will learn means nothing, really.
I can't even remember when my Mother's last cancer surgery was. Neither can she. That's how lucky we were. I'll have to ask my friend Mary to see if she even remembers. Fucking cancer coming after my friends and family. And selfishly I have to admit that it haunts me like some kind of headless horseman, a specter I have to forever keep watching over my shoulder for. I'm that afraid of it, despite my dear friend Mary's bravery and pluck, yes pluck, in the face of this. Her fingernails are oozing for Fuck's sake. How do we come to this? How is this allowed in this day and age? And AIDS?
It's the not knowingness that is the hard part at this point. The rest is all a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. Oh God my poor Mother. Thank God and Mary and everyone else who helped me put the fashion show on. I still dream of doing another bigger better one. I've set my sights on the Met Fashion Institute in New York, but if Mom isn't well enough to go, then what's the point of all of this? Who will I show these dresses of hers to when I find them like little precious jewels, pieces of our past come home to roost? What will I do without my Mother?