Monday, August 10, 2009

The Big C

This is kinda a crummy topic for my moms birthday. At yet, it's fitting too in a way.

You see, today is my mother's 57th birthday. I miss her. Aside from May 26th, August 10th is a really tough one for me too. I wish she were celebrating another year, getting closer to the milestone of 60, telling me more of her vacation adventures, making plans to come meet the baby etc. The lack of celebrating bothers me and I generally avoid the card section of the grocery store for at least 2 weeks prior to today. Hallmark doesn't see a hair of mine in July or August because I just can't handle those stupid cards yet. It's a process.

Cancer is such an insidious thing. It's a stealer of so many things, wonderful things. It's like a thief in the night, taking away security, hope and plans for the future. It takes away loved ones, friends and even random people I didn't have the pleasure of knowing personally. But who were loved and cared for by other people.

My mother had cancer. Her father did too. My father has had it, my half brother has had it and if I recall correctly 2 of my maternal aunts have had it. Not all the same kinds of cancer, but cancer none the less.

We recently found out that Micah's sweet grandmother has cancer. Luckily it's been caught in the early stages and her prognoses so far is good. She is his last remaining grandparent and I would ask those that pray to send out a prayer of healing for her as she is frail and is getting up there in age. She should have surgery hopefully in the next couple of months and we're hoping for a speedy recovery for her.

Back to me. It's my blog after all.

I get angry when I see those yellow Livestrong bracelets. I physically have to look away from them. I know that's wrong. I know it's not what my mom would want. It's certainly not how I want to behave.

When my mother was diagnosed with Cancer she and Nana ordered a ton of those things. They gave them to everyone at no cost. I had one, Kylie had one, Brian had one. Brian actually got into an argument with his Commander over it because those aren't approved Air Force regulation jewelry. Brian got to wear it anyways. I wasn't as diligent about wearing mine as others were like Nana, my Aunts and Uncles and even my then husband.

It was because I felt like they were lies. Live Strong. Livestrong. Sounds simple. Incredibly inspiring words on a yellow plastic bracelet. But I saw my mother. She was not physically strong. Cancer stole that from her. She needed assistance to get from point A to point B. She couldn't shower herself or use the toilet unaided. She didn't want to eat most of the time.

Her spirit was strong at times. When she called me back after I found out she had cancer and talked to me about it. That was strong. When she was calm in the face of all the chaos that surrounded her life those last few months, that was strong.

But her spirit wasn't always strong. She was afraid sometimes too. And she was sad. Sad she would never see her grandchildren grow up, never shop for them again. She would miss her friends, her sisters, her nieces and nephews. For awhile she talked about a miracle that would save her, so that she wouldn't die. Then she stopped. She must have known. Her miracle was going to Heaven, not staying here. But I still know she was sometimes sad about the things she would miss. And sad for the people who would miss her.

So Live Strong seems like such a lie to me. It was like a false promise, an order, a command to be strong in the face of Cancer. And she tried. And in spirit she was most of the time. And that still didn't save her. It was a lie.

At least to me. I'm obviously still a little raw, 4 years later.

But I still can't look at those stupid yellow bracelets.



It is a sad day today - thinking about Julie - but you know she wouldn't want us to dwell on sadness. She would try and lighten things up with a joke, story, etc. She was my wonderful little sister that I loved so much! I know she is better off in heaven, but I sometimes selfishly wish she were here with us.
Love you - Aunt Connie

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