His name was Tito. Well, to be honest I don’t think that was his name but that’s what people called him. According to my son, he was well liked by everyone. According to Tito he would never fit in to society.
I’m surrounded by death.
A boy only twenty one
He fought a long battle
But cancer won the war
A mother of three
Ovarian cancer of all things
In hospice right now
An only son
Married his love one week
Buried his mother the next
A man in his mid forties
Never sick, throws up blood
And is told he has six weeks
I’m surrounded by death
Cancer eats at my soul
Just as it consumed their bodies
This post is inspired by today’s Daily Prompt:
You are the first astronaut to arrive on a new, uncharted planet.
Write the note that you leave to those who come after you.
My Thanksgiving this year is not one I would call traditional. We were planning a small dinner with the boys, late in the evening so they could spend time with their other folks earlier in the day. But things didn’t come together as we had planned. One of our older boys was going to Lousiana to see his grandparents with his mother. Our youngest, who lives with us, was going to his Mom’s for a feast and Christmas tree decorating. And our other two boys were going to their Aunt Kathy’s house for the traditional Hispanic Thanksgiving consisting of turkey and tamales along with all the trimmings. My husband and I saw this as “our opportunity”. No cooking. No cleaning. Just a quick lunch at the local cafeteria. Heavenly.
The morning was amazing. While the hubby is on a time clock, you know the one, early to rise early to bed, I am not. My sleep is sporadic to say the least and the first opportunity I had to sleep in I took it. After a quick shower I decided to skip the make up and just put on a little lip stick. That’s when my day changed.
About 11:30 I got a text from one of the boys asking what time dinner was. The “Oh Shit!” factor kicked in immediately. Did I forget to tell one of them I wasn’t cooking? I had to confess that I had a communication problem and apologize to him. That was followed by a “NM Happy Thanksgiving anyway” He was fine. I think. C’mon! He had turkey and tamales waiting.
As the lipstick was gliding on my bottom lip I realized that I grabbed the wrong tube from my make up bag. Not that “Frosted Apricot” wasn’t my color, it just looked better on my mother. This was the tube of lipstick I found in her purse when she passed away. I never use it. I just always have it with me. The scent brought back memories of her hugging me and kissing me on the cheek. God, what I would give to have one of those hugs again.
Later that day, after our delightful cafeteria meal, it was time for an afternoon nap. Something we both had time to do since there was no cooking and cleaning. (Big, big smiles here) I cuddled up on the couch with a little black blanket that was left in my car after a trip to San Antonio with a very dear friend. We used to meet every year in October for the Women of Faith conference . I have not been able to connect with her. My emails are not rejected just unanswered. Her phone still rings but has no voice mail. I’ve often thought of driving to her home town to hunt her down, but why? She knows how to reach me. I miss her, but I am sure she is fine. People change. Relationships change. Sadly, I skipped Women of Faith this year, but I will be back next year. And every year after that.
By not having the typical hustle and bustle this Thanksgiving, I was able to take some time to reflect and think about those who are no longer with me. People who I have loved and lost. The very same people who have played a part in molding me into the person I am today. People who have touched my life in a way no one else has been able to. I was able to take the time to be thankful for not only those I cherish today but also for those I cherished yesterday.
The oldest boy called me late evening on Thanksgiving day. He called to say “Thanks Mom”. This was the first Thanksgiving in years that he didn’t get any of my peach cobbler. Sigh.
I didn’t really think too much about my Dad on Thanksgiving. It’s not like I have a tube of his lipstick. Or one of his old blankets. Next year maybe I’ll pop open a can of Lone Star beer and be thankful for the alcoholism that runs in my family.
Ah yes, next year. When I cook. No matter what. Even if its only peach cobbler.
It seems I’m at a loss for words
But I have so much to say
The days aren’t tough or easy
Not black or white but gray
You used to make me smile
Laughing about little things
But that was long before
You went and got your wings
Even though I cannot see you
I know that you’re around
I can feel you looking down on me
Though I cannot hear a sound
It’s only been two years Mom
But I so miss having you
To always see right through me
When I’m happy sad and blue
My life is a bit chaotic
Never knowing what to do
Tossing turning crying
I know you’ll see me through
I’m glad you are in heaven
What a wonderful place to be
I cannot wait to join you
Then I too will be set free
Until then know I love you
And I miss you everyday
I was once your little angel
Now my angel fly away
“I have had this horrible chest congestion I can’t get rid of. It seems to have gone to my ear now. I’m gonna go back to the doctor today”, Mom said.
“Well I have taken the day off work to run errands so why don’t we do lunch and I can take you to your appointment ?”, I replied.
“OK, that’d be good”, she wimpered.
I knew when she called me in the middle of the week that something was wrong. Mom was never sick and she rarely asked for help. And even though she didnt ask for help this time, it was her eager acceptance of my offer that had me concerned. I drove two hours to her cozy little home at the lake. She didn’t look well but it seemed to be more from stress than illness.
That was the beginning of her long journey home. Scans would later show that her chest congestion was stage four lung cancer. Chemotherapy started that very same day and continued weekly thereafter. Her life, our life, would never be same after that. During her treatment we had the time to talk about those things you never want to talk about. But the conversations were quite pleasant as Mom had no fear of dying. The cancer later moved to her brain and it was at that time I could tell her will to live was not for herself but for her children. We all gathered around her and assured her it was okay to rest. With a sigh of relief she did just that and joined Our Heavenly Father ten days later.
Mom was diagnosed in 2009 and passed away in 2011. Following her death I found a journal she had started about six months before her diagnosis. She knew something was wrong but didn’t want to worry the kids. Her struggle was unbearable at times. I wonder what would have happened has she worried us earlier. After all of this, to this day none of my brothers have stopped smoking. But even though Dad died from cirrhosis of the liver I continue to drink, so who am I to judge?
This post was inspired by this weeks writing challenge from the Daily Post: DIALOGUE
Inspired by Today’s Daily Prompt: My favorite toy
Being the youngest of five kids money was stretched pretty far. We didn’t really want for much but at the same time we didn’t really have much either. I was the baby and the only girl of us five siblings, so as luck would have it I was slightly spoiled. My brothers would argue about the word slightly that I use so loosely. Whatever boys, this is my story so I will remember things my way.
I recall having an imaginary friend that I treasured the most. His name was Jimmy Joe. Don’t ask me why he wasn’t a she named Sarah Sue, I’ve often wondered that and have never come up with an answer. We lived in very small town, Lake Village, Indiana. I used to play with Jimmy Joe in the dirt under our trailer home. One day Jimmy Joe got lost. I can remember my mom outside with me yelling and screaming frantically “Jimmy Joe where are you? Where are you Jimmy Joe?”. My mom must have really loved me or she was just plain crazy. We never found Jimmy Joe and I moved on to Weeble Wobbles.
I loved my Weeble Wobbles, what few I had. You know the song “weebles wobble but we don’t fall down”. How could you forget? One year my parents saved up enough money to get me a weeble wobble house for Christmas. That was the same year I found out Santa wasn’t real because me and one of my brothers had this bright idea to stay awake and watch Mom and Dad in the reflection of the fish tank while they “played Santa”.
The weeble wobble house was the coolest thing on earth. But thanks to my brothers we learned very quickly that the house couldn’t survive an explosion. You see, my brothers thought it would be funny to load it with firecrackers and set it on fire. I can still hear the explosion.
Yeah, not so funny. To my brothers, I thank you for taking the beatings from Dad for all of my wrong doings, for protecting the baby girl in the family. But you guys deserved that one. RIP Weeble Wobbles!
I know it hasn’t even been two years since your journey to Our Father in heaven, but some days it seems like a lifetime ago that we sat together and talked and laughed and cried as Mothers and Daughters do. I know we promised you that we would not drift apart from each other when you were gone, but being in Branson for our first family reunion without you is bittersweet. We hope to get together every other year on your birthday so we can celebrate your life and fulfill our promise to you. Maybe those of us who could not make it this year will make it in 2015. We all did our part in the kitchen, although none of us attempted to make your potato salad or baked beans. I don’t know, I just don’t think any of us are ready for that yet. I know you are happy. I hope that you are looking down on us with a proud heart and a tender smile. I need to keep this short, Mom. I miss you so much. The more I write, the more I long to hear your laughter and feel your hugs.
I love you,