By now, Mom, I know you’ve heard about the invader they found in my lymph nodes. I didn’t want to tell you, envisioning the fear and hot panic in your brown eyes, just like I saw it when you spoke of my lost brother Michael. I didn’t want to do that to you.
But, Mom, I have to tell you, so you’ll know that I’ll be alright. There is hope now, and medicines that work – cancer is not just loss and pain and death. I’m getting good care. Family and friends surround me with love and good wishes; their strong energy bouys me on days like today.
I know you’re scared for me, Mom. I am, too. I’m scared of losing my hair. I’m scared of being sick and so tired that it would be nearly effortless to just quit breathing. I’m scared of being alone – like you were. (We are all alone in death, aren’t we?)
It’s been years since we’ve talked, and I know I was often unkind to you. Your illnesses scared me and made me want to run and hide – not because I didn’t love you, but because I knew that I couldn’t help you and that knowledge tore me to pieces. It’s taken a long time to heal, and I’m still working on it. I fervently hope that my flight away from your illness did not inform my sons’ behavior toward mine.
Oh, Mom, I wish you were here. I need a hug.
My brother Michael died from melanoma in 1967 when he was 20. I was 7. My mother died in 1992 due to complications from emphysema. She was 65.