For a class that I’m taking, I had to create a digital narrative that somehow related to the subject of this blog: Women and Their Amazingness. Immediately, my mind went to a specific time in my mom, and in our family’s, lives. Poor, formally uneducated, and without insurance is not a condition anyone wants to be in when a serious health diagnosis is set upon them. Yet that was the case when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. She’s been in remission for over twenty years–which is incredible considering the prognosis: with treatment, there was a good chance she would die; without it, she would be gone pretty quickly.
I’ve always had a great memory (until I had children, that is), but I don’t remember many details from those two years of our lives–just bits & pieces. Yet when I completed my digital narrative on my mother & father’s relationship and this diagnosis so many years ago, I realized that this was clearly even more profound than I thought because it continues to pop up in my school assignments. It certainly had a tremendous effect on me personally, but it’s so much deeper than I knew.
So I created this narrative for a class project. Quite a few weeks later, I showed it to my Aunt & Uncle, who exclaimed how beautiful and touching it was, and who also reminded me of a few moments that I had forgotten during mom’s sickness. My Aunt asked me if I had shown it to my parent’s. “I haven’t” I told them. I was feeling a bit embarrassed–as I typically am with my creative creations. “I was still considering it” I told them. Slow forward two weeks later–just three days ago from the time I’m writing this post. I still didn’t feel comfortable showing them, but soon there might not be another chance. For at that moment, I was sitting at their dining room table discussing the news that we’d just received an hour before–that after twenty years, mom had another cancer.
And now I sit here, knowing that as part of my class requirement, I must post this digital narrative. But I am torn because I’m not sure that I am ready, but I am also currently in a strange place. Reliving an experience that cut so deeply. An experience that carved trenches in my heart, shifted me from one path to many different paths, and has left me forever scarred.
As a woman, I recall my mother’s strength during the battle for life or death that her body and mind endured. I remember her and my dad’s strength as they continued through those dark days, and for me–she, but also my dad–are amazing for how they handled it. It. That death that hovered over our house. That uncertainty. That incredible sadness. And as I sat across from them just three days ago, I couldn’t help but feel amazed again. It is their carry-on attitude. As the shock of the news settled in, Dad rested his hand on Mom’s arm and said “We’ll get through this” and shortly after, Mom went into the kitchen to make breakfast for her husband–as she has done for almost fifty years.