Friday, April 6, 2007

I scream, you scream, we all scream.

Let me first warn you that this isn't going to be the usual laugh so hard you'll smack your momma posts. It aint always hookers and blow at The Disco.

The past few weeks have been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me. My girlfriend recently found out that her friends' mother has cancer and the outlook is decidedly negative. On top of that, the mother in law of another friend also passed away due to cancer. We also thought that she (my girlfriend) may in fact be pregnant (which turned out negative by the way). The death of any human being would be cause for sadness (with the exception of some), but these deaths served to dig up some painful memories.

My mother Irma died from cancer several years ago. She was a dynamic woman who, though not perfect and with her share of skeletons, rose from the ashes of her past to provide a better life for my brother and myself. She did not reveal to us, her family, that she had cancer until she had progressed further along in the stages of cancer. She fought it as long as she could but I think there came a point where she realized that she could not win and could only do her best to make her departure as painless as possible for everyone involved. I cannot describe to you how difficult it is to watch someone who used to be so strong and fearless forget where they were going, or ask you to take them to a chinese restaraunt only to realize that she couldn't remember where it was, to sit up for hours at night moaning in pain with you powerless to do anything about any of it. During her last moments I lay in what would be her deathbed next to her, holding her hand as her breathing machine was turned off and watched her take her last breaths. As most would tell you about me, I'm one to rarely let it be known when I am upset or angry. All that gets tucked down into a ball deep down inside me. But not at this moment. Watching the life leave the person I loved most in this world after my own daughters was too much. I screamed. I cried. I broke down into the kind of body wracking sobs that only a son losing his mother could know. I sobbed until there were no more tears and my throat had gone dry. The woman that had molded me into the man I was and the father I am today was being taken from me

I felt alone. For all of the "We're here for you" and "Call me if you need anything" I felt alone. No one could reach inside me and fill that void that was left. But what was I to do? I had two daughters to care for, a house to maintain and a job to worry about. I didn't have time to mourn. So there I went, pushing those feelings down into that little ball that wasn't so little anymore. I was happy Manny again. Never a frown on this face, no sir. So I soldiered on, not really facing those feelings of loss, anger, of halving several worlds on my shoulders.

Needless to say, this was a lot to come flooding back, so my disposition has been somewhat lacking in the sunny department. For what it's worth I've offered myself as a source of comfort or at least a reference for how to deal with some of the issues that arise from dealing with a loved one that has cancer.

That's all for now. Maybe I'll pick up this thread again later, maybe not. It just felt like time to put some of this away.


Jayne said...

oh sweetie.

My dear grandmother- the sweet maternal woman to whom I owe so much of my own personality- passed away in December from cancer. It tore me apart.

I just found out that a childhood friend's mom, who was far more maternal than my own- she was the sweetest and most fun mom of them all- has at most a few months after a years-long battle with cancer. She'd kicked it the first time, but no such luck now.

I haven't seen this woman in many years- I graduated with my friend and we only heard of each other through mutual friends, and now occasionally through myspace- but I just got a bulletin informing me that she's walking in the Philly race for the cure, and they're all hoping that her mom will be able to attend this year. I went to her race for the cure page- and there's a picture of my friend with her mom... and I cried. She doesn't look anything like I remembered. Bald, tired, sick... and yet still smiling. bless her.

I have no final thought here... I just wanted you to know that I already had this subject on my mind and your post just fit the place that i'm in right now.

you know what's the saddest, though? So many "women's cancers" are killing us because the medical community has ignored us for so long.

sigh... at least our boobs get us free drinks earlier in life.

Manny said...

Sorry to hear about your grandmother Jayne. My grandmother passed away from Lymphoma a couple of years before my mom. She raised me when my mother was out of the picture. So for my pre teen years, she was my mother. I've been raised primarily by women, which probably explains why I'm more comfortable reading a book or shopping than watching football or baseball. Thanks for the support. I can't wait to see you guys in May.

Chez said...

This is pretty heartbreaking stuff man. I'm fortunate enough to still have both of my parents, but lately I've done a lot of wondering about what my life will be like once they're gone.

My mother, however, is a cancer survivor. She had cervical cancer and had to have a hysterectomy not long after I was born (as I'm fond of saying, they literally broke the mold after me). I'm sure it killed her that she couldn't have another child; course not nearly as much as it would've killed me to have had to share all my shit growing up. The actual serious point is that I have no idea how I'm going to handle the deaths of those I love -- particularly when those deaths could be as difficult as the ones you so perfectly described. I just don't know how.

For the record though, your parents' lasting legacy is a damn smart and funny man.

Manny said...

Thanks, Chez. Enjoy them for as long as you're able. I haven't seen my dad in almost 20 years. I doubt he even knows my mom died. Hell, I don't even know if HE'S dead. It's a sobering thought to realize that you could be the last person to carry your family name. Luckily my brother has two sons, so some of the pressure is off. But apparently all my swimmers know how to do is make girls. I blame Oprah.