My mom died roughly a month after my 16th birthday, and a month and 9 days short of her 44th birthday.
She’d had breast cancer for 6 months without telling anyone…
If I want to be cranky about it, it speaks to the affection my father felt for her that she was able to sleep on the couch for months without him saying anything.
(He was remarried before she was dead 2 years)
She showered when no one was home, and somehow managed to get my brother and I to and from school while in what must have been incredible pain. She made dinner, went grocery shopping, and made sure we were taken care of.
We knew she hadn’t been feeling well-she’d started complaining about pains, and her little dog, a Shih-Tzu named Bruno, refused to leave her side.
Finally on September 30th, despite her protests my dad took her to the doctor…when she was arguing with him about it she looked at me and said “K, tell your dad I’m fine. You know I’m okay.”
I couldn’t meet her eyes, and said “Mom, something’s wrong, please go get checked out.”
She never came home.
On some level I knew that she was going to die.
When my dad came home I was doing dishes. He broke the news and looked at him and said “She’s going to die, isn’t she?”
He didn’t want to believe it…and now I realize that it really had nothing to do with love for her but more because of fear for himself.
What was he going to do with two kids he barely knew?
When my brother was four years old he was diagnosed with leukemia. At some point, my mother prayed the prayer that every parent of a terminally ill child prays.
“Take me instead. Let my child get better and take me instead.”
A year or so before she got sick, my brother went off treatment and was considered cured.
So when she found her lump there must’ve been no question in her mind that God accepted her bargain.
I’ve thought about it…and I probably would believe that same thing. It’s too much of a coincidence, don’t you think?
I like to think a part of it too is my mom thumbing her nose at my father.
They were not a happy marriage. He was a tyrant and a cheater.
Despite a pretty good salary we never had any money, and if it weren’t for my granddad (my mom’s dad) my brother and I wouldn’t have had school clothes, or a place to live on at least two different occasions.
When I was 14 my mom got a part-time job, my brother and I were both in school full-time, he wasn’t sick anymore…and she wanted to have some money of her own.
She had her job for two weeks. Every night when he got home from work my dad would shriek at her about her job. He tried to use my brother and I as ammo but we wouldn’t let him. Her job made her happy, but it terrified him. If she saw that she could be alright without him she might just leave him, and if she left him he’d be alone…which is what it all boils down too.
My father was afraid of ever being alone.
He told her one time that if she ever left him, he’d take my brother and I and she’d never see us again…
In a way, dying seemed to her like her only way out, and it also called his bluff.
“Okay asshole, here’re my children. Let’s see how well you do.”
…for the record, he failed miserably.
But I’m done exorcising for now.



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