Well Hello There Blog

30 Aug

So I’ve been posting fun stuff. The blog equivalent of Spencer’s Gifts — dirty, useless, bright and shiny, a cheap laugh, a cursory purchase, a disposable gift. Lets face it, these posts have been as good for you to read as receiving a whole package of Dirty Limericks for the Shitter.

And why?

Well, things happened. And the best way to figure out exactly what happened is to start at the beginning.

June 29th, 2007

The rug in our living room is filthy. It is covered in dog hair, and in order to clean it I have to send it out. Ben is working at Fancy. I tip the couch on its side, roll the rug up and drag it to the front stairs. I’m considering if I want to move the couch, a decision that will anger Ben. The phone rings. It is my dad.

“There’s no good way to tell you this. Your mom has metastatic carcinoma of the lungs, brain and bones.”

My dad is crying. My dad has never cried. I got arrested and my dad didn’t cry. I ran away, no tears. I think he is the only man with XY chromosomes who didn’t well up at Field of Dreams. And his concern is whether or not he did it right. The telling of this news. He doesn’t know how. How do you know how to tell your kids that a piano is falling on their mom and they can’t do shit to stop it?

I don’t know, because I’m hyperventilating on the floor. I’m not crying. It is somewhere between a scream and something else.

I call Ben. I tell him he has to leave the office and walk outside. I get the words out, as if pushing them through the narrowest of openings. He is home too fast to believe but between the call and his arrival the tears come. Not tears. Wails. My mom. It isn’t bad enough she’s had MS for 19 years? That she had to quit the company she started?

We roll back the clock to the month earlier. Her driving got bad. She was listing to the left. She smashed up her car. All of it seems like MS symptoms. The MS acted like a weak left jab, hitting her soft enough to hurt, enough times that she doesn’t see the right hook coming.

It is 12 hours of sprinting to the airport, deciding whether or not to bring Lulu with me, figuring out if I can breathe, be around people, be touched. Wendy and Jill go to dinner with us. Did I forget to mention we just had to terminate a pregnancy for health reasons (mine, thanks so much.) Yeah. I call my ob/gyn and leave what must be the most bizarre message in the world. Can’t follow up, have to go home, my mom. Every second counts.

The rest, the coming home part, the being there, until July 4th weekend, it isn’t that bad. We fight, we drink (well I don’t drink, I’m on antibiotics so I take valium) we laugh, we watch TV. We make calls to my Aunt Lee and Uncle Michael. My mom starts aggressive radiation on her brain. Without the radiation and the dexamethasone she’ll die within a day my day warns.

Ben shows up with Lulu. We have a great night as a family. Another okay night where we hang out but without my sister. And on Saturday I drop him off at the airport and things get worse. You have no idea how quickly bad can go to worse. We’re back on the oncology ward, my mom is admitted, she is groggy, and then she is gone, comatose, barely breathing. She’s making something called “frontal release” signals which are as bad as they sound. We summon her family. The faces on the oncology nurses says it all. We’re goners. She’s gone. I sit with my dad as he cries. We watch him stroke her hair. I think that there will never be a man who loves his wife as much as he loves her. He is like a Bronte character without the drippy accent — pure love, unrelenting, just there. She is, in every way, the love of his life. And we’re losing her. It feels like being her daughter is the one thing I know I did right. How does that go away?

And then on Sunday morning — and I have to say I resent the Christian implications very much deity-I-do-not-know-what-to-call — my dad calls and says my mom has woken up. And she has. She’s back. Wan smile at first, but she’s back. And back into radiation she goes. We outfit the house with hospital beds and nurses, a fleet of women who understand things I don’t want to understand and take care of my mom’s dignity as if it meant something to them, which I suppose it does. 14 Radiation treatments and a Novel-Agent called Tarceva.

Last week we went back to their house. And my mom was back. I mean she was BACK. She was walking straight and talking fast, and she remembered every word whereas before she went down the rabbit hole she was really struggling. We went swimming. She has cancer. The kind of cancer that reduces your life to months when it decides to make its stand. But in the midst of this, did I forget to mention?

Ben proposed. He asked my dad for the family ring and on a sweaty July 22nd, his birthday, after a hike, while we were fighting he pulled out the ring and proposed. Got down on his knees. After chasing me because I had my hands over my ears screaming “I’m not ready, I’m not ready!” I wasn’t. I’m not. Nobody is. And weddings are silly celebrations.

But the Schacters want to party. And I’m just the not-white-dress-wearing fool to throw it. It won’t be like the parties I used to throw — where boys and girls and boys and boys all made out in the kitchen and someone always had better drugs and we ran out of booze and nobody could see the floor. It will be something else, something my parents can be at. And if my dad can hold my mom and dance with her, at this party, then I’ll be ecstatic. I’d settle for a good old fashioned 8th grade sway.

So that’s where I’ve been. Hope your summer vacation was great.

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One Response to “Well Hello There Blog”

  1. krass September 3, 2007 at 11:36 pm #

    I am still thinking of you and your whanau [that means family in kiwi language]. Hang in there Bethshiba xx

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