“My mom has cancer.”
I remember blurting these words out to my two companions on the ride back from our German class off campus. There was no segue, no continuation of thought, just an awkward pause in the conversation which was subsequently filled by the heavy weight of my words. This is the only memory I have of actually telling someone my harsh reality although these girls weren’t my closest of friends at the time. On thinking back to those days, I can’t remember if I directly told my closest friends or not. Did I leave it for them to figure it out on their own? I can’t remember. What I do remember is sitting in that car and thinking, “if I don’t tell them, they will have no idea” and “this is too large of a weight for my heart to bear alone.” Yet, as I shared the words, I felt an obligation to relieve the burden of knowledge that I had just dumped on them, unwittingly. I didn’t want to share the uncertainty and the fear. I found myself parroting the words of encouragement I received from the local doctors and nurses: “They say it is very treatable.” “She is responding really well.”
“My mom died.”
There is no way to deflect that particular blow. No hope or optimism to share. I said those words to exactly three people directly after the fact. It was said over the phone. And while I hate talking on the phone, at least I didn’t have to watch their faces take on a look of sympathy and suffer unwanted embraces of condolences. The first call was to some poor unsuspecting administrative assistant at my university. Someone needed to inform my professors why I would be returning a week after spring break. The second was to the man I thought was my current bishop at school. Unfortunately, during the brief time I was gone, he was released and a new person was called. This necessitated a third call, a call to my actual bishop—a man completely unknown to me at the time. No friends were called or notified. I try to think about my friends who were at different colleges across the country. Did I email them and let them know? I don’t think I did. I left the obituary and word of mouth to do the job.
I thought of these memories today. My thoughts subconsciously turn a bit morose during this time of year—a bit ironic when everything around me is busting out in springtime. Sunday the 29th marks the 11th year of my mother’s death. Eleven years since my mom and best friend was taken from me. Yet, as I type this, I feel slightly reprimanded. This is also the season of Easter and The Resurrection. And, while I normally stay away from the religious on my blog, I have to be grateful coincidence of the two events—to remind myself that as a consequence of that glorious occasion which is Easter, my mom too will live again, resurrected and perfect. So I guess I have found a way to lighten the burden when I share with others that my mom has passed away. I can tell them, “It isn’t permanent. I will see her again, and she will be perfect.”