It's interesting when you leave your own chaotic life, and then enter a realm of another persons life, that you can't begin to understand, even as you watch some of the life processes unfold before your eyes.
This week, during my short trip to Texas, I have shaved my mama's head, helped to celebrate the burning of her breast cancer port, watched her head be fastened securely to a table, with a mask placed tightly to her face, while enduring radiation on her brain, and then went to her very last plastic surgery visit.
I have watched her breakdown crying, on several occasions, but only for a moment, because she needs to stay strong. I have watched her eyes stare off in sheer panic, as she comes to the clear understanding that if her treatment doesn't work, there isn't exactly a fallback plan in place.
I've listened as she told me that she is so grateful for me, that she's so glad I came, and that she feels so blessed that I came into her life, and excepted her as my mother, while crying softly. I find it amazing, that she is feeling so grateful for me, and showering ME with compliments, when I feel like it is the least I can do, and in a time that I feel so grateful for her. Her selflessness is astonishing!
I admit, it's very surreal. She is so strong and so scared at the same time. Regardless of her setbacks, she moves on. She calls this life of hers “The New Normal”. She goes through these treatments on a daily basis, and while returning to work, even when they've told her not to. I only have gotten to see a couple of days into her new found life, and I am very saddened, and extremely inspired by her strength and beauty. I have found myself speechless, on multiple occasions, and honestly don't know what to think, because its hard to get it to register fully in my brain.
While I expected for her to barely be able to lift her head off the pillow, by the time I arrived, she again had proven everyone wrong. She blames it on the steroids, but she's up walking, cooking, playing with her new dog, and complaining that the doctor won't let her drive. She even ran 2.5 miles last week, just because she could. She's so determined to carry on in this life, and I am confident that she can do so.
Her only goal was to still have her hair, when I got off the airplane. She was upset that she didnt reach this goal entirely. I told her she should have set goals that were easier to reach, like she would be able to pick me up at the airport, or that she would know who I was:). She did still have patches of hair, which she calls “mange”, so I feel like technically, she reached her goal:)
Aside from our shared tears, and random hugs, and talks of what it's like to live life with cancer, we just are enjoying each other. We have been laughing, going to breakfast, buying and drinking wine, watching movies, making fun of my dad:), starting up her own blog, listening to music, and just talking. Just being normal! I wish I would choose to look at all my visits, to different people, in the same manner. I have thoroughly enjoyed our visit so far, and look forward to the next half.
When your faced with the realism of “what ifs”, you embrace every visit, and do not take advantage of any moment. Wouldn't it be great if we could live our whole lives like this?…….But as she says “Life goes on”! And truthfully, as she and I discussed last night, she is probably more apt to be killed in a car crash on the way home, or by being eaten by a donkey, than to go down from this stupid disease……