Monday, July 16, 2012

Sweet Moments ...Sunday Afternoon

Did I mention my mama has cancer? It's seldom far from my mind these days, and I'm spending as much time as I can with her. I'm grateful that it is summertime,  and that our schedule is relatively light.

I have always been close to my mama, too much so, maybe some would say, maybe even me, in those moments when the lines between my thoughts and hers blur.

But these moments, these past few weeks, have taken on a luminous quality to me. The sun is brighter, images are sharper,  the rich beauty of the faces that surround me are more vividly beautiful in a way I haven't seen before,  especially hers.

When she was diagnosed with breast cancer 16 months ago, during the early part of my pregnancy with Lucy, I was stunned to the point of breathlessness.  One morning, a few weeks later when Patrick was traveling and Helena was at school, I lay on the kitchen floor and sobbed more deeply and heavily than I ever have before,  as the weight of the realization that I could lose her, soon, hit me fully.

And then, seemingly miraculously,  her treatments went amazingly well, aside from some troublesome side effects, she was tolerating the chemotherapy well and, by December, her bloodwork and scans came back almost clean, very close to what would be considered remission.

But all of that has since changed and I don't know how much time we have left. I do, however, know that I have a choice right now, between getting lost in the bitter unfairness of having to contemplate saying goodbye to my mama, when she is only 64, or savoring the sweetness of the time we have right now.

I have chosen to savor. Lest you think I'm crazy or feeding you a line of crap, I cry all the time right now, multiple times a day some days, and I am scared and sometimes royally pissed. But then I move on. Back to the present moment.

Today I got to massage lotion into her skin, feeling the too thinness of her, and talk with her of simple things, of being a tired and less than inspired parent to my girls. To tell her that there will never be a good time for us to say goodbye. And I am so grateful that, whatever comes, I still get a chance to say these things. To listen to her wisdom, to hold her.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Grounded in the now.

Certain facts of life bring me up short, and make me really want to savor right here and now.

The future is always uncertain but knowing that a loved one's health, and possibly even life is on the line drives all this home a in way that nothing else can.

My mama has been battling cancer for more than a year now, and for the most part, all has been going as well as we could hope. Until now. Now there is more cancer. Now there are still options, but it all looks less promising, at least from the outside.

In times like these, it is easy to spiral into fear, to write the end of the story before it arrives. Harder though, to remain present in the here and now. But worth the effort.

Worth it to remain grounded now. To hold her now, to soak up the sunshine of each summer day, to love my babies as they grow so quickly, to laugh still, smile still, engage in life still.

Relationships with our parents, be they easy or not so much, are so primal, visceral, basic and yet so complex. My mama is teaching me, when I thought I had learned pretty much what she had to share, a lot about grace, just now. There are never really any guarantees in life, especially regarding how many moments on this planet are ours to savor with those we love. And there are gifts in these seemingly harsh reminders to live now, savor it all now.