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[personal profile] becomingkate
 WARNING, this is pretty deep and heavy stuff about cancer and the grief process and all that, so don't read it if you're not up for it.  Not a problem.  You can look for the 'cancer' tag and avoid all those if you'd like.

When my mom's boyfriend called me about a week ago (a week ago tomorrow, actually) to tell me it was serious cancer and that she has 6-12 months to live, I didn't feel anything.

My cat had died only two hours before that phone call.  That bothered me more than anything because I literally watched her die.  I sat next to her after she died, because I kept swearing I saw her belly rise and fall, or a small twitch of movement, but it was every time I looked away.  When I looked back at her, I'd see nothing.  After a long time of this, I finally accepted that she was gone.

When I got the call about my mom, it didn't seem real.  It seemed like nothing had changed.  They still didn't know where the cancer originated, so how could they know how bad it is and how long she has to live?  My husband and I watched funny tv shows that night and I didn't cry.  Not even about the cat, which was weird because I cried like crazy for the other two who passed away.

As a day or two went by, I felt something.  Anger.  It wasn't what I expect to feel, but there it was.  How did this dare to happen?  My mom and I were both content, finally.  I was content staying at home, not doing much of anything except care for my son who is honestly pretty self-sufficient, if you tell him what to do enough times.  I had felt unsettled lately, and that's why I'd started the blog and the imalive volunteer process.  I was maybe moving towards some permanent hobbies, possibly a path to a career or at least ways to occupy my time.  My mother had a job putting together the newsletter for a church.  She has a boyfriend who visits her every weekend and they do the hobbies they enjoy.  Gardening, antique shopping, hanging out on the beach, cooking.  

I always assumed my mother would just grow old and pass away.  There's no history of cancer in her family.  She doesn't eat super healthy or get a lot of exercise but she stays away from most processed food and I don't think she's had fast food in her life, except maybe as a kid.  

It was bothersome to see my mom's brother and his wife very upset when I went with them and my mom on Thursday to an appointment.  I didn't feel like that was helpful to my mom--that they were already essentially mourning her.  I mean, I guess I am always thinking that things can always change.  Some people bounce back unexpectedly.  Sometimes doctors are wrong.  Either way, I don't think my mom wants everyone around her to be sad at this time.  I guess I've never been comfortable around sick people and I want to be optimistic and act like things will be okay.  I know they probably won't be, in this case, but can't we pretend?  Does it really hurt to just carry on as if nothing has changed, aside from treatment and whatever changes she has to make based on how she feels?  I'd think, if she really doesn't have long to go, that she'd like to spend her time being as happy and normal as she can.  I can't assume that, though.  

At the same time, I just want to kick myself in the pants and cry like everyone else.
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