Writer on a Horse
And a Dog

The world looks better from the back of a horse and the roads of life are easier with a good dog beside you.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Okay I'm going to get mushy. Sigh... my mother died of lung cancer when I was 27 years old. I miss her every day. She was the one person I could always depend on to chew me out if I did something wrong, hold me if I was sad and take care of me if I was sick.

A mother fixes whatever needs fixing and knows your deepest darkest secrets and loves you anyway.

A mother can hear your voice on the phone and are able to judge your mood. She can detect that tear in your voice. She can look into your eyes and knows something is wrong.

You don't have to give birth to a person to mother them.

Here is a disclaimer.... the memoir below will make you cry and it isn't perfect because I just can't edit it... look over the mistakes and know each word comes from my heart and it was therapy for me to write it.


Malignant, was the word that changed my life. I can remember in vivid detail the day my mother’s hell began.

“The tumor is malignant,” the doctor told us.

I struggled to breathe as he talked treatment and time frame. My mother’s face showed no emotion as she listened. I looked at her, silently pleading for her to make this alright. She always made everything alright for me, my brothers and my dad.

“Then the tumor is inoperable?” mother asked.

“That is correct,” the doctor answered. “An oat cell tumor only spreads if it’s disturbed.”

“But..,” I cleared my throat but the lump that was choking me would not go away. “You have to give her some hope. We need hope! There has to be some kind of treatment that will help her.”

“I’m sorry, I wish I could say there was, but there isn’t. Radiation will be for pain control only, it’s not a cure.”

Mother reached over and touched my hand. Giving me a weak smile, she asked the doctor, “When do I need to start the radiation?”

"As soon as possible, tomorrow if we can set it up.”

At twenty-five years old, I understood what the doctor was saying. My mother was dying. My mind understood this, but my heart could not.

Two years later standing at her graveside, unable to shed a single tear, I realized that my life changed from the moment I heard the word malignant. First I prayed for her to live, but as the cancer grew and the pain got worst I prayed for her to die, so the pain would stop. It took me over a year after her death to cry and for the grieving process to begin. For a year, I lived with the guilt that I was relieved when my mother died. One day for no reason, I started crying. I cried because my best friend was gone, the one person that had loved me, no matter what. I cried for my babies that would never know how much their granny loved them and what a special person she was. I cried for my brothers and dad who made no effort to maintain our family unit. When I came to terms with my grief and stopped crying, I made a vow our family would stay close. I shamed, begged and bribed them into meeting once a week for breakfast, where we talk about our families, share our lives, and renew our bonds. Sometimes the meetings are serious, when our children are having problems or when family members have been sick. Other times, we laugh and talk about silly things the kids have done or said. My favorite times are when we sit for an hour and talk about the past.

Even though the word, malignant, makes my heart jump with fear, I remember how my mother held our family together. Each time I nudge a brother or my dad back into the fold, I think of the word that brings Mother’s memory to mind, the word love.

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