Watching cancer ravage a human body – especially when it’s your mother’s – is the worst thing in the world. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I’ve been trying to avoid it. I’ve made excuses. I’ve stayed away. I’ve felt guilty. I’ve hurt. I’ve relished, and have taken refuge in my immediate family – finding solace in the everyday meandering that being with my children and husband brings. But now I’m with her. I’ve made the trip home.
My father has watched his wife whittle away to nothing for two years, and it has taken its toll. I watch him piddle about aimlessly, making inappropriate jokes like he usually does. His jovialness is searing – a reminder of the hurt that he’s oh so bravely attempting to mask.
I walked into my mother’s room and went weak after seeing her. She was no longer my mother. She was now only a shell of the mom I once knew. She was small – skinnier than me. Her legs were frail, eyes dark and sunken in. She looked at me but wasn’t able to focus. I saw a brief glimmer of recognition and then she drifted off to sleep.
This is hard.