It was a week ago yesterday that I was out at the Raymond beach with Jerry on his last day before school started. We were playing Parcheesi. I was having a rough day (like pretty much every day.) Nick and I had been fighting that morning (like pretty much every day.) I had a water bottle. Jerry had a Tampico and a green lollipop.
My phone rang. It was Nick. He said he wanted to come talk to me. I sighed because, as I said, we'd been arguing and I just didn't have it in me to argue anymore. But still, he said he felt it was important that he talk to me so I said what I always say these days, "fine" (you know the kind of "fine" I am talking about-- the kind of fine when you communicate that you are anything but fine.)
Nick drove up on his black moto a few minutes later. He sat down and tried to get Jerry to go play in the water. Jerry said it was too rough and he didn't want to. So, with Jerry right there, Nick looked at me and just flat out said, "Gwenn. I just talked to your mom. She has cancer."
If you'd given me a hundred guesses as to what Nick was about to say to me, I wouldn't have guessed.
Tears sprang to my eyes immediately.
The next few minutes are kind of a blur in my memory. I cried the really ugly cry. (Poor Jerry didn't know what was going on.) Nick went through the details that he knew-- it was in her uterus... they thought they caught it early... hysterectomy...will know more tomorrow after seeing the oncologist...
I wanted to talk to my mom but I was crying too hard and so my thoughts sprang to my sisters. What a special gift sisters are. I walked away, leaving Nick to finish Parcheesi with Jerry. I called Gretchen. We talked. She was the calmer voice of reason. That's because she's the OLDEST sister. (Much, MUCH older than me... but I digress.)
Fast forward to yesterday morning, I am sitting there trying to figure out what to wear to the hospital. The thought kept crossing my mind-- "What does one wear to their mother's hysterectomy?" At first I put on a purple t-shirt that had these metal studs-- and then I changed because I thought bedazzling was too much. As I put on my makeup, I kept tearing up. And I didn't know why. (Incidentally, I have not stopped feeling teary.)
Finally, a few minutes later, this thought crossed my mind-- "I am crying because today part of my mother is dying." And not just that, but it was the part of her that carried me. The uterus they removed-- that was the uterus that cradled me as I grew. And Gretchen before me, and Melody after me. And now, there's something else growing in there-- something that leads to death, not life. It was kind of scary to think about.
They think they probably removed all the cancer. It will take about two weeks for the pathology to come back to know for sure what the next steps are. Lord willing, we're done and at this moment as my mom sits across the room from me she is cancer-free.
But either way, part of her is gone and it was a really tangible reminder that someday all of her will be gone. I am not ready for that. I don't think I will ever be. It made me think about my own kids who have lost their moms... ug. How could I not realize this is how they felt?
I got an email from my dear friend Andrew who is praying for my mom, and he said this, "I know her (and pretty much everyone in your family) mind must be racing right now wondering how this will impact the future. And then of course, “why?” That’s rarely an easy one to answer this side of Heaven."
I guess it's just one more reason to long for a new heaven and a new earth where there is no more sickness or death or tears. One more reason to beg, "Come, Lord Jesus..."