I wasn't quite seven when my father died and I've been preparing myself for the inevitable loss of my mother ever since.
My early youth was filled with irrational and malevolent "I hate you" strategies, that in retrospect I can only presume were a defense mechanism of sorts. Loss of someone you love, hurts. A lot. Therefore, losing someone you abhor would at least bring indifference right? For a few years, I was terrible to my mother. I was desperate to feel less of everything or better... not feeling anything at all.
In my late teens, my mother and I repaired our relationship. We became friends. I allowed myself to feel a part of my family. After all, my mom and brother were all I had really, and contrary to my efforts to push them away, I needed them.
Since then, I've always measured my security and happiness in life against predicted average lifespans and likely probabilities in an effort to guess when to prepare myself for loss. Because it will happen again. And it will probably happen when I'm happy.
Agoraphobia, procrastination and avoidance are rampant throughout my life. All in an effort to just stay.
Stay neutral. Not too sad; so I can function, but not too happy... no, no! That's when the other shoe drops.
Stay in one place. Slow time just a little. Don't breathe Karen... hide in the corner; play dead. Stay still, stay quiet and maybe fate won't notice me. Again.
I'm finding myself torn. In a million different directions....
It's so easy to be angry. I'm angry at the cancer. I'm angry at the doctors that disrupted the tumour and as a result have seemingly poked and enraged a sleeping monster. My mother had NO symptoms mere weeks ago at diagnosis and today she is in constant pain, eats little and has now started vomiting. Would this all be happening if she hadn't seen a doctor? Would she feel like this today anyway? I'll never know that. That makes me angry too. Paradoxically, I'm even more mad she didn't go to the doctor sooner.
I hate that I'm having to think about the possibility of my mom being very, very sick (or worse). I don't want her to suffer. I cry all the time when I catch myself imagining my life without her. I'm trying so hard to stay positive. Harder still to keep her positive. Because I still need her.
It's so easy to want to retreat into old habits. Avoid, deny, ignore. Stay still. Don't breathe. Barely exist.
But what will that do? It will only destroy me.
And I too have a daughter that needs me. So instead of playing dead, I'm going to fight back. For her.