Death Is A Six-Letter Word

If you had asked me only a year ago how I felt about my mother, I would’ve shrugged and said, “I take her with a grain of salt.” If you could’ve read my thoughts, you would know that I was actually thinking how I have tried so hard to love her, but it has left me exhausted to the point where I have no feelings left for her. My mother, she simply exists, nothing more.

If this had been going on last year, I would’ve simply said, “That sucks” and move on, but this isn’t last year. This is 2015, and I love my mother, just in time to watch her die.

Nothing is certain as of yet. They found something on her lung. It might be cancer, but they’re going to give it three months and see if it grows any. It won’t matter if they catch it early though. If it is cancer, she’s as good as dead.

My mother told me, as we were sitting around the dinner table on Saturday, that if it is cancer, she’s not going to pursue chemo. She’s not going to wait until it gets bad, either. She’s going to kill herself. I can’t tell if she’s saying this simply to get a reaction from me or if she really means it. I can’t tell if this is because of the conclusions we’ve come to throughout the week, about how she won’t be able to stay at home to do chemo, about how I would take off of work to take her to appointments and to basically hold her hand, about how my brother would have to step up and help. I don’t know if this ties into the fight we had with my brother Tuesday night, where I found her crying in her room and she told me she feels like she’s holding him back, that maybe he really should move up here with me. I can’t tell what she means by this, so I say, “You know, if you kill yourself, life insurance won’t pay out.”

Because that’s all I really can say. I don’t know what’s going through her head. Everything I am feeling, she must be feeling ten times worse. Do I agree with her decision? Absolutely. If it was me, I wouldn’t kill myself necessarily, but I also wouldn’t pursue chemo. It’s entirely selfish of me to want her to destroy herself just so she might live long enough for me to settle down and have her some grandchildren. I won’t push that on her.

I keep thinking about how we are finally getting along after 19 years, how I finally feel like I’m part of a family again. I keep thinking that if only this had happened sooner, before I allowed myself to start loving her again. I keep thinking that parents die and it’s just something that happens.  Maybe we’ll get lucky, but we’re not known for our luck.

So here we sit, in limbo, for three months.


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