The “C” Word

classic-embossed-alphabet-blocksYesterday was a big day for this family.  The doctors and my mother decided to stop cancer treatment for her and to turn instead to hospice care at home.

Why is it that you do not know that this monumental thing is happening even though you read my blog all the time, you ask?  Because it sucks.  Cancer sucks.  If I were a bit more colorful with my language (as are some of the best mom bloggers I know!) I would say it f*$%ing sucks a big fat f*$%ing piece of s&!t.  But of course, I’m going for a PG-rating over here.

Cancer sucks.  And I have no way to explain it, to rationalize it or to somehow make sense of why my young, beautiful mother has to go through it.  I have not been able to be grateful for any part of sucky cancer.  I am grateful for this year and a half since her diagnosis and I am grateful for all the moments and time spent together, for the memories and …. blah blah blah. … *heavy sigh*

I’ll let you in on a little secret here:


One more thing in my life that I *don’t* know how to do.  People look to me for answers (“Ma’am? You do know the answers, don’t you?”) or for inspiration or for something funny.  Sorry folks, I got nothing.  The “A” word, the “C” word, the “D” word… apparently it is my task to gather strength from *somewhere* (looks up and around the room), to find some answer, and to do *something* with it.  This time, I got nothing over here.  Cancer sucks.  I am angry and sad.  That’s it.

There is a Buddhist meditation technique I learned in the book “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach.  It is called “naming.”  Ms. Brach writes a beautiful story about a man who was beginning to lose his memory to Alzheimer’s (another “A” word. ugh.)  As the man sat down in front of a large audience to lead a meditation session, he suddenly forgot where he was and what he was supposed to be doing.  So he simply bowed his head and began naming all the things he felt and that were going through his mind.  When he raised his head again, the students had tears in their eyes.  They told him that he had taught them more about true mindfulness than anyone else had.





floods of childhood memories one after another

wishing I could fix it

angry it is out of my control

angry at God for letting it happen



trying to find words

where there are none

stinging behind my eyes



 wanting peace with this

wondering when it comes

And with that thought, Hannah walks in with a plate of gluten-free pancakes.  Maybe there is no answer I will find in my writing today.  But pancakes taste good anyway.

Please send prayers, energy, good thoughts to my beautiful mother.  And heck, if you know other people who believe in the healing power of the universe and have access to “prayer chains” of any kind, please share this post and add her to the prayer list.  Her name is Susan.  Thank you.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jenny Johnson
    Feb 24, 2011 @ 08:37:59

    I’m so sorry to hear that you have to go through this. I’m thinking about you and your family.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!
    -Jen (Jody’s sister)


  2. itsnotaboutdying
    Feb 24, 2011 @ 09:39:47

    “I DON”T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS!” We all scream that. We’re just making it up as we go. Your journey will change you. Nice writing, I liked it.


  3. bbsmum
    Feb 24, 2011 @ 12:28:03

    This happened to me too. To my mother. Seven years ago. I don’t know how you’ll get through it, but you will. The pain does become livable-with, although at first you think it’ll drive you crazy. Believe it or not, gratitude comes, too. not gratitude about death but gratitude about her life, because your mother was/is beautiful and wonderful. Just like mine was.
    You do get through it.


  4. Katy
    Feb 24, 2011 @ 13:20:52

    Hey, I am so sorry to hear about this. I went through this with my dad just 4 years ago. My dad had lung cancer which spread to his brain. You are right…be thankful for every second you have and don’t waste a single one. My dad was in home hospice at the end as well and I think that he was comforted knowing that he was at home with the people who loved him. Cathy, I really do know how you are feeling and your aren’t “supposed” to know how to do this. Please know that you and your beautiful family and your mom are in my thoughts and prayers and if you ever want to talk it out with someone who has been where you are…please call me…718-668-6802.



  5. Sue
    Feb 25, 2011 @ 05:13:46

    I am truly sorry you are going through this. Losing a parent is hard enough, but when they are younger it is even harder. Both of my parents are gone, but they both lived to be older. My dad was 80 and mom was 87. It was hard even then.

    You are allowed to be sad and even angry. Just know that hospice really is a good way to go if there is such a thing. They really do work to make sure their patients are comfortable and it is nice to have them there for support to you too.

    I am sending lots of love, hugs, and prayers for you and Susan.


  6. fiona2107
    Feb 25, 2011 @ 06:09:23

    Oh Cathy sweetheart. Cancer took my Dad 3 years ago.
    It sucks.
    Plain and simple.

    I am already praying for your mom and also for you and your family xxx


  7. Booyah's Momma
    Feb 26, 2011 @ 18:08:45

    Cancer does suck. There is no other word to describe what it robs us of. Indeed sending lots of good thoughts and energy to your family. Hang in there, lady.


  8. itsnotaboutdying
    Feb 26, 2011 @ 18:37:11

    Sucks. Sucks. Sucks. We also learn so
    Much about ourselves.


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