Daughter from a Distance

10 07 2008

I’m not sure what would be different – would I really be seeing you much more often, spending “quality” time together, perhaps taking you to your chemo treatments?  Perhaps.  But I suspect it’s more the symbolism of nearness that gets us – like distance in miles equals the distance between hearts, and who am I to say it doesn’t?  Ours is probably about balanced – 4.5 hours to drive on a good day, without traffic.  One phone call per week (for you, preferably on the same day).  Pleasantries exchanged.  Our comings and goings updated.  Sometimes a couple laughs.  Plently of silences.

What do we wish for when our parents become ill?  That we’d been closer, that we were chummy like those mothers and daughters we know who get pedicures together?  That our chumminess will more easily carry us through the dark and scary?  Or perhaps we reconsider every argument, every rash judgement we’ve made on them, so that we can make right with ourselves that at one time or another we’ve hated the people who love us the most?

I’ve never felt so distant as a daughter as I did when you told me that you had blacked out from chemo – and I found out about a week later.  The way you said it “maybe your sister mentioned my incident to you…” NO, she neglected to mention it.  In fact, you did as well.  And so did my father.  It’s as if living in another state somehow dropped me off the call-list, so that now I only qualify to ring an answering service and listen to the drone of the wait music.  In other words, I’m the last to know.

But this is what I do, right?  Get angry at YOU, and everyone else who’s convenient, instead of the real culprit: INCRURABLE ILLNESS.  CANCER.  The big F-ing C.

I shouldn’t blame you at all – I know you try to protect me from its ugliness.  But its ugliness creeps into all of our beds at night – haunts us until morning when we force ourselves to face another day in its wake – we are held hostage.  I don’t know how you do it – take in poison over and over again into your body so it can hopefully kill the bad cells and leave the good – all the while you feel like your dying and that might mean you’ll get to live – what a dirty trick you are forced to play.  The thought of it makes my skin crawl – but I know I’d be forced to play the same game if I had to.

The bottom line is this: I love you so much it scares me, and this F-ed up illness just gets in the way, and some days it’s all I can do to hold onto the thought of us – our family – before any of this began.  Perhaps it’s just living in the past.  But right now I need it for the future.

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7 responses

10 07 2008
chris

i am so sorry that you, your mom, and your family are going through this. know that we are thinking of you. i really appreciate this brave and honest post. hugs.

10 07 2008
Lo

Thinking of you.

10 07 2008
ohchicken

no words. but so much love to you.

11 07 2008
maeby

It is just SO hard. And even when you think perhaps you’ve gotten your mind around this giant tear in your universe, at some point, it all just hits you again. Lots of light & love to you, your mom, & the rest of your family. Perhaps not so eloquent, but always true: cancer sucks the big one.

11 07 2008
j. k-c.

love to you and your mom, A.
You are always in our thoughts. If there is ever anything we can do please let us know.

3 08 2008
Hafhasty

Very nice!!

20 08 2008
mylesbianlife

Ahhh, the C word. Such a difficult topic that brings up so many emotions. Our fragility. Our life, that we are reminded on a regular basis is short and sometimes sweet and sometimes sour. If anything cancer reminds us of what matters the most-for me that is love and relationship. My thoughts and love to you.

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