(Yup, when I started this post it was NOT Mother’s Day… and now it is) Simply… after the one year mark… things are different… I feel different. I was gonna go into all the ways “this” has changed… or how “that” has been replaced by “those”, but there will be other times for all that jive. I just felt the need to say that through this experience, every once in a while there is a tangible feeling when a shift takes place. Kinda of like on the first day I didn’t cry… or when six months hit and I felt like I had a little bit of control over my life… and had to make decisions for myself. Although there is no destination, there’s this tedious little march going on that keeps pushing me forward and with every step, I overanalyze it… and then adapt to make the next step.
As I have flubbed my way through this, there are times that I just feel lighter. Sometimes it’s happens when I come to a realization of something that has been weighing down my brain. Sometimes it was just getting through a holiday or birthday or our anniversary. For right now… for today… I attribute my “I simply feel a little better!” state of mind to two main things… getting past a date… and a text saying, “GOOD, GOOD NEWS!!!!”.
Now, there are actually a gazillion little things I believe that contribute to noticeably feeling a little better… i.e. getting most of the yard raked, not needing to build a fire every night, rearranging the living room, meeting new people from all walks of life… in my new life, SPRING!!, the fact that I’m still on top of sh… stuff, that I haven’t acquired some strange illness that causes a baby’s hand… and arm… to grow out of the top of my head! (although… could be useful) Yup, there are a bunch of things that come into play, but currently it’s the continuous passage of Time during my tedious little march that helps me get through certain checkpoints. For me, hitting the one year mark without Kateri felt like I was just gently pushed into a new chapter of life. Of course, it might just be a new paragraph, but might as well use the universally accepted homogenized term to reference a point in the story line. Hopefully it’s a long story… and as long as there are more pages to turn… I don’t really care what chapter or paragraph I’m on!
The text… “GOOD, GOOD NEWS!!!!”… came from my father… and he wasn’t lying. We found out that my mother had cancer (lung cancer that had also traveled to her brain) 4 or five months before we found the sh… stuff (really trying not to cuss!) in Kateri’s head. For me, it has been quite the experience having to process and accept that the two most important people in my life were handed the cancer card…. and cancer is a fucked up thing. Once you live with cancer in your world, you begin to see not only how prevelant and inconsistant the disease is, but also how many people it simply affects. It’s a strange trip. When I got the phone call that they had found something in my mom’s lung… I was devastated. When it hit Kateri… and then she died… well, I didn’t think about what was worse than “Devastated”, but I felt it. Luckily… time does help.
Sometimes, you just have to hold on for a while and let the time pass. If you do, sometimes the big pile of shit get’s a couple of shovel loads taken out of it by three simple words… written in all caps… with exclamation marks. Sometimes… “GOOD, GOOD NEWS!!!!” pertains to the best news you’ve heard in a year and 19 days… at least for me. What’s the “GOOD, GOOD NEWS!!!!” you ask? The docs could no longer see any tumors in my mom’s brain!… yup, and we’ll take it!
Honestly, it’s been one of those roller coaster months, but for now I’m just gonna allow the “GOOD, GOOD NEWS!!!!” to stick around for a while and give me another thing to smile about. Today is Mother’s Day…. and I feel fortunate that when I’m done here I have the opportunity to pick up the phone… and talk to my mom… because I love her. (yes… I’m a momma’s boy. When I was a kid, I remember crying after a swim lesson… not because I was afraid of water or got it up my nose or anything, but since I was having so much fun in the water… I forgot about my mom… and I didn’t like that.) There’s a lot of crap out there, but the good is hangin’ around, too. Sometimes it’s so good… you have to say it twice.
Widower Notes n Thoughts:
- A commercial with LL Cool J came on last night talking about how his wife “Beat Cancer Like a Boss”. I think it’s great that she is an ambassador for the American Cancer Society and for the positive message of facing adversity with a positive outlook, but it just kinda hit me strange and it’s been swirling around in my brain. At first, I was like “Well, Kateri dealt with this experience with strength, courage, empathy, grace, and love. She never even took anything for the pain besides weed. She still supported other people. She still lived life and tried to control what she could… and what she thought she could. But… she still died.” Last night, I took the commercial as saying that if you try hard and have positive thoughts… you can beat cancer… and I don’t fully subscribe to that train of thought. Thinking more on it and actually looking into it a bit… I saw the commercial in a different light… and realized that that’s not what the commercial was saying. Cancer does what it wants… and it doesn’t give a hoot who you are or how much you wanna beat it. Yup, cancer kills…. but the message is more about how are we gonna live with it… that’s what we have control over… and I’m glad LL (we’re not really on a first name basis) still has his wife… and that on Mother’s Day, their children still have their mom.
- I think there is some “bitterness” in my brain about this whole experience which makes me initially look at things from certain angles…. which aren’t always completely accurate.
- Although I feel sorta “better”… this is still an overwhelming experience… life is complicated.
- I bought a toilet brush for the upstairs bathroom. That may not seem like a big deal, but it is. I’m starting to bring things into my home… for my life.
- I raked the paths on our land yesterday (6.5 acres). Although Kateri sorta laughed at me the first time I did it… she still enjoyed walking on them! Nowadays with Kateri gone, I sorta feel like the crazy ol’ widower on the hill raking the woods!… the beard, John Deere hat, and rubber boots don’t help that image.
- To all you mothers out there… the ones who are supportive, encouraging, and present… thank you. Having a kid gives you responsibility. Loving and nurturing that child… for the rest of your life… makes you a mom.