It’s pretty simple. Today would have been my mother’s 66th birthday. My mother died from breast cancer when I was 12. I write about it about once a year. Mother’s Day is tough.
These are some things to know about a young girl who loses who her young mother to cancer who grows up to be one year older than her mother who died.
1. I don’t get over my mother’s death. It is seared on my brain. My nose still smells cancer. My eyes still go back to watching her waste away at home as Hospice cared for her. My ears still hear her begging her hospice nurse to administer enough morphine to make her die. My arm still feels one of the last times I crawled into her hospital water bed just to be near her.
2. I choke down carrot cake. It makes me mad that her favorite birthday cake does that to me. It’s not because it tastes bad but it’s just more thing that reminds of her. I didn’t get the chance to eat enough birthday cake with my mom.
3. I can’t remember my mom’s voice. I know her phrases “tough toenails” for one. But I can’t assign it to any cadence or lilt. That makes me mad too. That should be something a girl knows about her own mother. Your mother’s voice should be on automatic recall.
4. Most of the time, especially this season of my life I want to call my mom. I need my mom right now. I need her understanding. I need her talking me off the ledge. I need her to take me shopping. I need her to bring me a mug of tea. I need her to call me and tell me she is proud of me and believes in me. Selfishly I go back and forth from being so happy she isn’t hurting anymore to being so mad that I don’t get to have a mom.
5. In general, I walk around incensed that cancer still makes me this angry. I’m so sick of hearing people diagnosed again. I’m so pissed this word has so much control over and me and everybody else. It’s just not fair. I was convinced I too would not make it to 40. Now I’m on the downward slope towards 42. Not so much relieved but just another ticking time bomb.
6. My mother was beautiful. My father called her Deer because she was so gentle, and deep loving brown eyes, and was just known by everyone for her grace and kindness and fairness. She was a peacemaker. There are not enough people, including myself, in this world that exhibit such graciousness.
7. My kids have no real idea who my mom was and where I come from. I refer to my mom as Grandma every once in a while and my beautiful children try to play along but they don’t know her. They don’t have a visual image of her. They haven’t felt her so very cool hands-on their foreheads, they haven’t felt her gently rubbing their backs when they were tired and worn out. They can’t hear her voice calming them down when they lost their tempers. They don’t get to have memories of going to the lake with them or her sitting next to them practicing piano. They don’t see her sitting on the couch reading while drinking her mug of tea. This makes me mad I can’t share this picture with them. It’s just one more disconnect I have with the normal world.
8. October makes me mad. It’s the irony of Breast Cancer Awareness month and my mom’s birthday month.
People offer their condolences. They offer scripture and biblical hope. They say to count my blessings. They tell me my mom would be so proud of me. They say my mom is watching over me. And that’s fine and dandy most days and it is truth. But there are days like today that I feel so much has been wrenched from me. So much is still being stolen from me and I walk around mad. I sit on my couch and write in a blog while angry tears roll down my face as I sit in self-pity. I don’t want to be consoled. I don’t want to wear pink. I don’t want to wear the ribbon.
I want to eat carrot cake and celebrate my mom’s birthday with her.