Friday, February 23, 2018
The thing about life,is that it continues to go on no matter how you feel.
It doesn't care if you don't want to get out of your bed. Life isn't going to stop because you're going through more than you believe you can take.
I was getting overwhelmed by mid December.
Mom's cancer and her treatments were enough to overwhelm anyone.
I tried my best to handle everything well.
I admired mom's strength and often wondered how she could handle this as well as she was.
She had her days, but for the most part,she persisted on as if she wasn't a newly diagnosised breast cancer patient.
I felt selfish most days because all I could think of in the more intense moments of panic was ,I am 15. I want to go back to how things were before cancer.
I want to party and be with Chris as much as possible without feeling guilty.
I want to enjoy the new life I was given just months before this hell began..
If I felt that way, I can't imagine how mom felt. She was the one with breast cancer. Fighting for her life.
So many emotions at one time to a 15 year old is hard to handle.
So I did what I knew best and I would seek out a temporary fix.
The miracle in a pill bottle that I had discovered a year or so before .
I didn't have to look hard or go far.
All of my friends were older and I had access to anything I wanted.
That would do the trick for a few hours and then it was back to feeling feelings again.
Something I hated.
Things had been going great with Chris and I.
I was so thankful for him and I knew he was who I wanted to be with.
He and I discussed our future together and I meant what I had said but because I had always been let down, I honestly didn't take him extremely serious about wanting to marry me.
Deep down, I knew he would eventually leave me too. It was a waiting game in my mind.
His actions matched his words but I was used to con-artists and figured he was just really good at pretending to love me.
I had good reason for why I felt that way and for not trusting any male .
When a girl isn't wanted by her own dad, her self-esteem isn't the greatest.
If my dad left me, why would any other guy stay?
It didn't help that I was cruel to myself.
I'm my own worst enemy and I would tell myself that it was my fault and I wasn't loveable.
Telling yourself those things after awhile, turns into your own reality.
It'll also drive you mad. .
My pain from the past would always come up.
Like an unwelcomed ghost that refuses to cross over.
My current situation and the demons of the past were enough to keep me down ,with no hope of anything getting better.
No matter how hard I tried, I didn't feel okay unless I had a substance in me or was with Chris.
Even then, I told myself,it wouldn't last.
I wasn't sure how I was ever going to be ok.
So I took it a day at a time and dedicated myself to trying to escape the reality of everything and enjoyed any genuine moments that I could.
I often told Chris that he had no idea what he had gotten himself into. 😏
And his response each time was
" Stop trying to push me away. I'm not going anywhere,no matter what. I don't care how tough it gets, I'm with you to stay".
I believed him.
I just had the voice inside that reminded me of others who also promised to stay.
I wasn't winning the battle within me...
I accepted that I wouldn't ever be stable and decided I would ride the train of life untill it derailed...
Thursday, February 15, 2018
The days went on and before we knew it it was Christmas time.
Mom was about 5-6 weeks into her chemotherapy treatment and we were getting into a routine of everything. We were more prepared for the side effects of the poison that was being injected into my mom. She lived as best as she could.
She now had categorization of days.
Bad days. Good days
Bad days were, vomiting at the slightest smell of food. Feeling weak after being up for half an hour.
Waking up with headaches that then triggered more nausea.
And the biggest at that time. Her hair on her head was falling out in bigger clumps.
Her hair falling out was something that bothered me so much that I couldn't look. I would leave the room.i felt so bad but it felt like a punch to the gut..
Her blonde hair was coming out and the expression on her face made me sick to my stomach.
I was so hurt for her.
I was helpless.
The good days were of us sitting in our living room and talking about everything.
My mom didn't drink but a couple of times a year, she liked cheap wine.
I believe she fully deserved to have a glass during this trial in life.
Mom was a sappy type of drinker.
Meaning she would be so happy,she would cry. 😂
She would dance as well on the better days and I only wish I could have recorded it. 💜
One day, Mom came to me and suggested I should get out of the house for awhile.
I had been with her as much as possible only leaving to her appointments, the ones she allowed me to go to or out with Chris for a little while.
So I agreed that it sounded like a good idea.
I called Chris to come and get me
(The picture was the actual day that this all occurred)
Chris and I hung out and watched movies. I didn't want to be away from a phone in case mom called.
Within 2 hours, mom had called and I heard music blaring from the background.
" Tiffany! I figured out how to use your stereo"!
She was shouting in the phone because her beagees band was blasting from my stereo system.
She was rambling on and singing 🎶🎵🎶
" I'm having a good ole Time. I am singing and dancing to my CDs."
I can tell Mom.
Chris could hear her as he sat beside me.
We were laughing at her. We couldn't help but to.
I couldn't get a word in without her interrupting me with singing and shouting .
" I bet I am having a better time by myself than you two are" more singing🎶🎵.
I said' mom, did you get into the arbor mist'? 😂
" As a matter of fact,I did and I am having a party for one*!
She then wanted to talk to Chris.
I got up and put my shoes on because I knew we should go check on her.
Chris told her to save him some wine and we would head over.
I could hear music from the driveway.
Laughing as we walked inside, mom had her glass of wine in one and twirling around with her other hand in the air.
She wasn't lying... She had rearranged our living room to make room for her shananigans 😂💜
She saw us and grabbed us both into a hug.
I turned the music down and Chris convinced her to sit before she fell.
Mom said " look here at the two of you crashing my little party".
I told her I didn't want her to hurt herself or bust our eardrums.
Once she sat down, she started to cry. I knew it was coming but considering the situation of her battling cancer, this was more than sappy tears. It was much deeper than that.
She started apologizing for things in the past and for the things I had went through and especially for the situation that separated us when I was 13-14.
Chris sat in silence. He knew of what she was talking about and how it had effected me.
She then wanted me to tell her everything that had happened to me that cold October night.
I didn't want to. It would hurt her more to know the full truth. In detail.
I told her that.
She kept pressing me and refused to stop until I told her everything. Every awful detail that had changed so much of me and our life.
I told her I didn't blame her. She didn't do anything to me.
She bawled and apologized.
I told her that we are moving on from that and now have bigger battles to face.
That conversation was tough but looking back,I am grateful we had it.
She had sobered up and Chris and I put the living room back together.
Chris stayed until dark and he and Mom discussed future plans, regarding me.
It was like mom knew something that I didn't know at the time and God was working things out for a future I hadn't imagined before.
I was still in awe of her strength and of the respect Chris showed mom.
I wouldn't know then, how amazing their relationship was until long after the time.
We had great moments in the middle of bad times.
These conversations meant so much and I believe were also a gift.
Chris and I cooked that night and mom managed to eat a little before feeling sick and laying down.
What started out as a funny, wine moment that included music I knew nothing about, turned into a wound being sealed up and memories made.
She was carefree for awhile and I was glad.
December was one of our favorite months but this time cancer tagged along.
That month would have many ups and downs.
It's crazy how things can change so much within a days time.
We learned to cling to the good times. The happiness in bits and pieces.
Taking it for granted was always a problem.
Monday, February 5, 2018
The morning of Thanksgiving started off better than I had originally thought.
Mom was up at 3am preparing the turkey.
I asked her if she needed any help and she said" I think I have it. I would like you to do my makeup and maybe try something with my hair while I still have it, later before everyone gets here."
Mom had been cooking away that morning. I showered and dressed.
I could see her from my bedroom and I noticed her stopping every few minutes. I asked her if she was ok and she said she felt nauseous from the smell of the food.
Chemotherapy doesn't care that it's Thanksgiving. Cancer doesn't care if you're just 52 with a teenage daughter that depends on you. Or older kids and grandkids who adore you.. Cancer is selfish. It doesn't discriminate either. It's evil.
I was so angry inside that despite her best efforts, that poison was making her weak as time went on.
Mom admitted that she was embarrassed for family to see her thinning hair. Her lashes were coming out and so were her eyebrows.
I assured her I would help her beauty shine through before everyone got there.
I did her eye makeup as best as I could. Her lashes were falling out. Her eyebrows were as well and once she saw how badly, she cried.
She said " I'll never be pretty"
" Just look at my eyebrows. They have bald spaces".
I told her she was beautiful and we would fix it.
Her crying broke my heart.
Something inside of me just snapped.
I left mom sitting there and went into the bathroom and grabbed a razor. I brought it back to my room where mama was and I said" I'm going to color and draw your eyebrows on"
Mom said " Tiffany, everyone will know and it will look bad"
I shook my head and smiled.
" If anyone is worried about your eyebrows,then they have bigger issues"
I said " I'm going to match you"
She look up at me confused.
" You're not shaving your head"!
😁 " No mom, I'm not.
But I am taking the rest of my eyebrows off"
See, I hated my eyebrows anyway and plucked them until they bled.
I wanted mom to feel better and not feel so alone in this nightmare we were in.
I raised the razor to my brows and before she could stop me, I shaved one completely off.
I looked ridiculous!
Mom's mouth gaped open.
I said " see, now we will both have drawn on brows"
A smile crept across her face and she said " you're crazy! Now you have to shave the other one"
So I did. .
I didn't take into account that shaving your eyebrows off as a female especially, is pretty much permanent. It takes forever for them to grow back. The process isn't pretty. I also didn't think about how I had never actually drawn on eyebrows...
Oh well. It was done and my mom was smiling with tears in her eyes. Together, her and I figured out how to draw on eyebrows. Mine were awful! Hers looked good. She had some hair there, but not alot. Still more than I had.
I straightened her hair. Hiding the pieces that came out.
She looked beautiful. (The picture below is after this)
She hugged me tightly and I fought back the urge to weep loudly.
She vomited 2x before people arrived. She hid the fact her head had been pounding all morning,from everyone. Never complaining.
That Thanksgiving, my sick, strong mother reminded me of how tough she was. I knew she would beat this.
The joy on her face around her grandkids and some of the family that was there, is always in my mind. She loved them. She loved us.
Once everyone left, it was her , and a member or two of family,Chris and myself.
He thought I was insane for shaving my brows off. 😁 But understood why.
We sat and talked about nothing in particular and enjoyed our time together.
I wish I could go back in those moments.
Chris could make mom and I laugh and forget for a moment,of our situation.
I don't think he will ever know how much those moments meant to her or I.
That Thanksgiving will always be one of many times I will remember as the beginning of a chapter I nor she, asked for.
We made the best of it.
She kept her faith. She knew she would need it as time went by. She refused to let this cancer be who she was.
Clinging to Jesus, was exactly what carried her through. Something I admired , while breaking apart inside.
I wanted so badly to wake up from this terrible nightmare.
Pinching myself never worked though.
It doesn't work for real life events...
Over the next few months, I soaked up as many moments as possible,with her. When she wasn't insanely sick from chemo.
Coping in my own way. Which really wasn't ever coping at all. I did my best in the moment.
Feeding from her courage.
Watching her do her best to live as she had before this entered her.
Chemotherapy weakens the person it's said to help.
It's an ironic treatment.
I despised it.
I despised this whole freaking situation.
I would learn that a person can only take so much.
Making you or breaking you.
With time not wavering for either of us...