Life as I know it is this: My mother has a terminal blood cancer diagnosis (MDS). I am an artist with a professional career in IT. I am dog person living alone with two cats. And I burn with deep pain and passions that frequently erupt into the quiet practice of writing.
What is the function of my blog in my life? I consider the direction it has taken. I have many poems, hundreds probably, and have posted them here. I could keep up with that work, but I feel the call to something different.
My friend Todd blogged his personal journey through blood cancer- from his leukemia diagnosis to untimely death. It is a body of work I believe has helped others on that same journey (Popcorn from the Void). In the coming months, I intend to write about my own journey through grief alongside my creative writing.
Grief is my constant companion. It is the direct result of loving and having loved deeply and lost. I don’t write about my broken heart very much, but it plagues me with rage and sorrow. My deep fibers. They take my breath away.
I am standing on the tracks and there is a light coming toward me, a freight train that I cannot escape. I have read that all other death is merely practice for the death of your mother. Having lost my beloved father at age 12, it is difficult for me to imagine anything more painful than that (other than child death).
My mother is fine right now. She has treatments of chemo to deal with the cancer and anti-biotics to deal with the infections that low white blood cell counts allow to grow. She is active and living her life as normally as possible. She is not close to death yet.
But I am experiencing pre-grief. It is the sort of thing that comes at you sideways. It is feeling anxious without being able to do anything about it. It’s waking up, walking out, letting go. The ground beneath me is shifting- by my choice. I shaved my head. I broke my celibacy. I accepted a promotion.
In the midst of crisis, I am calm. This is typical for people who grew up like I did. I can be calm because I delay. I hold my shit together in order to get through it, to calmer waters. And when I get there, I let it wash over me. I experience the grief, the pain, the anger, the loss. But I have had a lot of crisis these past five years. I have both outgoing and oncoming grief now.
So, what is the solution?
I am in the in-between hours. It is the time for collecting good memories, to fill my cup, to feel free and alive, and take stock. I am visiting with friends, seeing live music, cuddling my cats, reading books- simply being without driving myself to some more constructive end. When the difficulties arrive, I will be able to look back on this time of my life and rejoice. There is happiness within me and within those I love.
It is precious to me, a reminder that life is not all darkness even when it is the darkest.
Copyright C.M. Mounts, November 2018
If your Mom likes them road trips are a fun way to live for the moment and have undistracted communication. Be sure to write down a list of questions about life that only she can answer.
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I was thinking of taking her down to Pensacola, FL which we traveled to every year when I was growing up. Thank you for the great suggestion of making a list of questions to ask!
Ah Christine. Your cup always runneth over. Your deep fibres as seen from this distant perch are beautiful and vibrant. You are a treasure. Your art a beautifully cultivated gift. And your mother has done her job. I believe that it’s a mother’s job to teach their children that they are loveable – and whole. Because she, whom you love, loves you even when you KNOW you’re un-loveable, you can see a path to love yourself in her absence. Peace to your heart as you travel this ever changing, life altering journey. Glad (and lucky) to be your companion. ~Liz
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Liz, you are so sweet. Thank you for the encouragement, now and always.