Five years ago this morning she was here. Barley. Not really. I think by then she was probably more than half way between here and there. I think she’d been there for a while. She hadn’t been lucent in so long. A gift, I guess.
I didn’t say goodbye. Not in so many words. I couldn’t. “I’ll see you next week” I’d say as I kissed her goodbye. I didn’t want to utter the words. I didn’t want her subconscious to hear them. I didn’t want her to hold on any longer, halfway between here and the hereafter in the broken shell that was my Mother, but I didn’t have enough strength to tell her goodbye. I didn’t want her to misinterpret me. I wanted her to stay forever and I struggled with guilt over the selfish greed of wanting her to stay and the horror of knowing that I didn’t want her to live for one more second like she was at the end.
Five years letter, I’m not better, really. I’m different. I’ll never be again the girl I was on May 4, 2007. She disappeared with my Mom. The loss of her is a scar. Sometimes it flares up and I’m sad or angry or bitter or confused. Those flare ups don’t happen as frequently but they’ll never be gone. Things will always wash over me and the missing her will hurt again like it did at the beginning.
Cancer can’t do a lot of things. There’s a meme that floats around the Internet that says so. But the one thing it did do was cause my dormant anxiety to rear it’s ugly heard and five years after the cancer has left, the anxiety has stayed. I’m afraid of doing everything right and leaving my girls and Big Daddy alone. I’m afraid of making one small misstep and leaving them alone. It’s the worst thing I can imagine, after all, to leave before we’re ready. It was something my Mom was afraid of and somehow the decade old conversation I had with her where she admitted it has buried into my psyche and it manifests in me. That’s something cancer has done. Of course, I don’t want it to win in that way but, for now, only five years later it still is. Whispering in my ear that nothing is forever and that we have no control over the amount of time we have.
Yesterday morning, Baby Bee and I prepared to leave the house. We stepped out the front door and a butterfly was hovering in front of us. It flitted with great joy around us, buzzing so close to us that I was sure it would fly in the house (and risk becoming the prey of Angus and Luna). Baby Bee was frightened of it at first, but when I told it was only a butterfly she trotted onto the porch and chased it and spun and laughed. Playing with it a few moments before it fluttered away. I’m confused about the hereafter and what there is after this but my heavy heart wants to believe desperately that a part of my Mom and Baby Bee got to have a few moments of the playtime they’d have surely had if my Mom had survived cancer.
It’s not all well with my soul, but it’s okay.
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