Monday, February 8, 2010


Every once in awhile, it just overtakes me.

Most days I stay busy and focus on getting my work done, dealing with the everyday ins and outs of my life and the lives of my family. I take my kids to school and pick them up; I work my job; I run errands and drop people off at appointments and take care of whatever else needs to be done. The typical life of the typical American wife and mother, I supposed. But then I have a day that just overwhelms me completely, for no logical reason in the world other than I am one person carrying a load that feels like it was meant for forty.

Tonight is that night. Work was fine and I feel like things are going well with my new supervisor and coworker. We seem to agree on quite a few things and are making progress. The day was dreary but fine. I picked up my son and came home, then played with Gabi, our dog. Surfed the web, did some more work, spent time with the kids.

And then--

My son and I had a blowup over homework. One of those arguments that had to happen because he will fail without hearing what needs to be said. Because he is determined he's right, even in the face of failure.

And the dam broke.

And now I sit here, alone, unable to control my tears. I know this is not about my son. My mother has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness and my way of coping is to block it out, to pretend that the limits and lifespan and disease progression don't or won't apply to her. That by somehow denying reality, I can change it. But I don't. I can't.

I know what she has been diagnosed with and I have read enough about the disease to know that there is no positive outlook. The most positive outcome we can hope for is slowing the progression of the disease to give her more time and, hopefully, a higher quality of life. My mom is my lifeline and tonight I feel my line being cut, strand by strand.

It's incredibly painful. I've tried everything tonight I can think of to take it away without breaking some law. All of the typical things we do to numb pain--reading, eating, not eating, socializing, playing, watching TV--it's all failed. Nothing is working right now and so I'm left with dealing with it. And that completely sucks.

I have no doubt that if my mother reads this her concern will be for me. She has told me she is anxious but, as with just about any situation, she is worried about my reaction, my response. As a mother, I completely understand that because it's exactly how I respond to my own children. I would rather feel all of their pain and carry it on me than have them feel an ounce of it. And ironically, through all of this mess, my thoughts have been on myself--my God, how will I manage my life without my mother?

Perhaps it's easier to face that question first instead of the logistics and the realities of watching the people you love, who brought you into this world, grow older, grow limited, approach death. Easier to handle than trying to figure out how to make it less painful for them. I don't know. All I know is that I can't imagine a moment of my life without my mom. I've never wanted to imagine it and I don't now.

I guess, sometimes all there is to do is to cry...and hope that things will look and feel better when the tears dry.

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