I vow to never give up.
Say it. Mean it. Think it.
Yes, I know everything seems fucking impossible right now. You never get to do the things you need or want to do. You never get to take care of yourself. But don’t give up. You can power through. Just keep your head down and power through.
I love taking care of my mom. I LOVE hearing her ask me for anything because goodness, she is finally awake. She has been practically in a coma for more than a month. I am always happy to change her diapers or get her juice or help her brush her teeth– I am so happy to take care of her.
She was, not long ago, caught in the worst rut. My beautiful mother was trapped in a life that reminds me of a Greek myth that I read as a young teenager in D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. Tantalus was forever tantalized without nourishment for something awful he did that I can’t remember. He was sentenced to an eternity where he was chin deep in water he could not drink, as it would sink away from him, and a luscious fruit-filled branch above him lurched away when he tried to reach it. It’s worse than the fiery pits of Hades.
My mom was gifted weeks of no pain, post-radiation therapy: able to walk, go to the mall, but forced to do horrible scans and doctor visits that gave her such anxiety that she could hardly enjoy her good days.
Then the pain returned ten fold as the radiation wore off and her body shut down, and now she is either in a restless, dream filled sleep (from painkillers), or awake and in crippling pain.
She drinks only laxative drinks and has not eaten for a month. Some days she drinks nothing.
So a part of me was starting to think that she deserved to be relieved from this hell she’s in. (Dangerous thoughts, you see.)
In my sleep one night, I had a half awake nightmare. I had a crazy dream… I dreamt that I was texting my dad and the nurse was here to see my mom, and he texted me and he said “No. it’s the cancer” or something that implied the cancer was getting worse and out of control and there was nothing they could do. No no no no no I thought in my dream, I might have even said it out loud. I was panicking. There must be something I can do. It can’t be the last chance. But it was, that was what Papa was saying. She was slipping away. My best friend in the world.
I woke up tucked under my duvet with my cell phone in my hands, a text conversation open with ‘Papa’ aka my dad.
It had felt so real to me.
And that’s when I realized that I am not at all ready for her to leave this world, not yet.