Friday, March 1, 2013

MOM'S DEAD....(My Life - Part II)

 "I'll be back in a couple of hours Mom. I have to go home and do a little homework and I'd like to take a shower". "OK honey", she replied. It took me a little over an hour to finish my homework and then I got into the shower. I remember taking a very hot and long shower. Just standing under the water thinking, hoping, even praying. Praying to a god that I had no belief in, but praying none the less. How could things go so wrong? How could life be so cruel to such a wonderful person? As I got out of the shower I remember looking at my skin in amazement. How could I have been so wrapped up in my own thoughts that my skin was as pink as Ms. Piggy? LOLOLOL. Trust me, it was pink. That water must have been real hot. As I'm getting dressed I hear the front door open. "Jonathon!", says the voice. I threw on my shirt and ran downstairs. There in the doorway was my Brother-In-Law. I saw his eyes teared up and he was sort of trembling. "What's wrong?" I asked even though I knew. "Mom's dead", he whaled as he shrunk into my shoulders. I think that's when I experienced what Therapists call "Shut Down".

 I remember back in October of '92 my Mother was complaining of a bad sore throat. Right after her birthday she made a Doctor's appointment. I came home one day after Football practice and she says, "Honey, I need to Talk to you". "What's up", I asked. "Well Honey, I had to take some tests at the Doctor's" she said. "OK" I replied. "It turns out That I have cancer and that's why I have had a sore throat." "But don't worry, I will be just fine." She must have said that because she saw the look on my face. I can only guess that it was a look of "What the Fuck". But I believed her. After all, she worked in the cancer ward of Palos Community Hospital. I guess I knew deep down that this wasn't good, but I took my Mother's word for it.

 The Radiation treatments did nothing except turn my Mother into a shell of her former self. Anyone who has had someone close to them die of cancer has my utmost and complete sympathies. I remember Christmas time is when my Mother had shaved her head. She was losing her hair in big clumps, so she decided to keep her pride and shave her head. She was now a 55 year old bald woman. I did the only thing a loving Mama's boy could do. I shaved my head. (Yes this is where my shaved head look started) As an added bonus her license was revoked. Now I'm not sure if it was the intensity of the treatment, or if Radiation is that much different than Kemo, but she was no longer allowed to drive. Some time shortly after New Years my Mom asked me for a small favor, that would end up changing my life forever. "Jon, I need you to do me a favor and go get me some cigarettes." I was shocked, "You quit smoking, I can't buy you cigarettes." She started to cry, which really tore me up. Never in my life had something I've said or done made my Mother cry. "Honey, I need a cigarette. So please just do this for me, and then we'll talk". So, I did it. I went and bought cigarettes for my Mother, who had Esophageal Cancer which was due to smoking.

 I got home and she had a cup of coffee and a cigarette. She told me to come sit with her at the table. "Honey, my cancer has progressed. I decided to end my radiation treatments." "Why", I asked. "Jon, this is going to be hard for you and it is very hard for me. But I'm going to die honey. I don't know when, but it is inevitable." I lost it, I started balling right there. She came over and knelt down and held me in her arms. "Look at me honey." I took my head away from her shoulder and looked at her. "Now you have grown up to become a wonderful young man. I am so proud of you and proud to call you my Son. I don't know how much time I have left but I'm sure it's not much. I just want to enjoy the little time that I have left with you, your Brother, and Sisters." She assured me that I could handle this, and right then I decided to be the young man that she told me I was. "So what do you want to do now", I asked. "Go get Monopoly", she said. We played Monopoly for three hours that day. It was great.

 As weeks went by, I spent all my free time with her. We watched movies, played cards, and just had fun doing mundane stupid shit. Dad would come home and cook Dinner, or order in. My Mom talked to my Principal, so I was able to take a lot of days off of school. Mom continued to smoke and I continued to get them for her. I remember it was early February when Mom started getting real bad. We spent less and less time playing games as most of her time was spent on the couch, moaning in pain. The cancer was eating her alive and I had a front row seat. She spent the last eight days of her life in a private room at the hospital she worked at, on the floor she was a nurse.

 When I got to her room I grabbed her hand. She was still warm. I leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. 20 years ago tonight, right now at this very moment, we were all sitting and standing in her room. Waiting for the funeral home to come pick her up. March 1st has never been a fun day since.

9 comments:

  1. Riveting commentary! Thanks for sharing this with me. I lost 2 good friends to lung cancer in the last 2 years and we were connected every day by the internet. It's all you can do, be a witness and try to share and reinforce the strength that people seem to be able summon up as they face the inevitable.
    I lived through the trauma of being a 12 year old kid watching my mother slowly die of MS. I still deal with that all the time. It killed my father...he had sacrificed everything to take care of her. found my self an orphan at 16 with out much support....either I gave up my life or I could try to make it on my own. I chose the latter...not the easiest way, in fact I did a lot of stupid things, but it was my way.

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    1. Thank you for reading Dottie and it was a pleasure to share. I decided to turn my blog into a sort of biography for this year. May not get a lot of viewers, but it should be fun.

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  2. I wish I could write my life story sometimes, it seems to be a way to deal with the shit we go through, but for me, it's uncovering layers...sometimes you block out and just plain forget the past and when I start remembering stuff, even I don't quite believe this shit was real...there are some periods that in reality were a few months, but the changes seem like a few lifetimes....we all have been many different people at different times...I was a punk and perhaps a teen age criminal, but the same little creep from Detroit knew he was an artist and a true star at the same time..I think I am happy now.....

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    1. As long as your happy that is all that matters. The little life story I am working on definitely has some therapeutic value. But I also see it as some sort of cynical success story. I hope you keep reading Buddy, I'll keep writing.

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  3. Johnny,

    I was 39 when I lost my mom, to colon cancer. While I agree with you on how awful the c is, I am thankful that we had the warning that the end was coming. We had a lot of quality time together that I would have missed if she'd had a massive heart attack, or a crash, or any other surprise ending.

    That said, I hope and pray that none of my girls ever have to deal with this hereditary problem. If they have to get something, I hope its the heart disease from my dad's side of the family, not the colon cancer from mom's.

    Your mom was right, Jon. You are a wonderful young man. Be proud of yourself, you've done well.

    Say hello to your Princess, from my Princesses.

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    1. I agree T. Knowing that the end was near made that time even more special, but yet more depressing. But the one thing those experiences teach us is to not take life and love for granted. I make it a point to give my wife a kiss every day before I go to work. And to treat every day as if it were my last.
      Thank you for the compliment, but don't rush to judgement just yet, LOLOLOL. I will definitely pass on the hellos, and you be sure to do the same. And when you come over to visit 'OL E-Tool, you make sure you call me so we can get together.

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  4. JOB

    Very riveting and heartwarming comments. It made me recall a lot of things about some of the deceased members of my family as well. Good thought provoking story.

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    1. I am very happy you enjoyed it Pal. There will be more of these throughout the year. Be sure to check in from time to time Buddy.

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