A Scary Word Comes Between a FamilyWednesday, April 8th, 2009
I had just returned from our first writing salon of the year. I listened to Jay complain about the unfairness of algebra homework, while Mimi held onto my leg as I tried to walk down the hall.
She asked if she could sit in my lap and I said of course. Mimi hesitated, than leapt onto me. I wondered why she thought before acting.
Mimi felt heavier. I tried to put my chin above her head, but it didn’t fit.
Something was odd. Something was different.
As I put my arms around her, I realized what it was — she had physically outgrown me.
There was a gap between us. A distance apart.
Almost nine months earlier, nearly the time it takes to give birth, I labored with the delivery of a very different kind of announcement: I was told I had cancer. Just that word. . .
I had no idea how unbelievable it would all become. How sitting still for even a few minutes would be a major accomplishment. How senior moments would became EVERY moment. How much I would change.
There were times I would lose it and my husband and children would just stare because they were not used to seeing me this way.
Early on, during a three-month wait for a definite diagnosis, in my mind I journeyed to my own funeral. It was difficult for me to look at my family because then I would have to consider that possibility.
Now I know it’s in an early stage, but the disease is chronic and unusual. There is no net.
For some two-hundred nights I have applied a topical chemotherapy drug that smells like a bomb and is derived from one. I’m in a clinical trial, so the experimental agent comes in a yellow and black bag that looks like police tape, and my bathroom hutch resembles a crime scene.
Each tube of medication is plastered with warning labels.
In psychedelic pink: Caution: CYTOTOXIC DRUG. Dispose of properly.
In neon yellow: CAUTION: New drug limited by Federal Law to investigational use.
In bright orange: HIGH ALERT MEDICINE.
I feel like a spotlight is on me and a helicopter hovering above.
But then seriousness sets in. I know my situation has affected my children emotionally. My son will come into my daughter’s room while I stare off into middle distances that are never far enough away. “You’re OK, right?”
Mimi will move toward me but then face away with her back. She reminds me of a pissed-off cat. She wants to love, but she is afraid. Mimi has asked me not to die.
Today, when my husband dropped me off at the Cancer Center, my daughter began to cry as hard as the rain outside pounded. “Wait!” I pleaded to the valet. “I need to hug my daughter.” I felt her hot tears mingle with my own. Her body was warm and enveloped me as we clung tightly.
I believe in those words. I have children. I must.
By Dawn Yun
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- Let’s All Whine Together! (5)
- Undercover Secrets From a Mother Trying to Hi (4)
- A Scary Word Comes Between a Family (4)
- The DNA of Love (4)
- So Not a Party Planner (4)
- Why I Don't Clean (3)
- How Sculpture Crafted My Family (3)
- Mommy Has Free Time Alone!!!!!!!!! (2)
- Surreal City Scene in Suburbia (2)