You Should Be Here…

Today was Avie’s birthday. She’s six years old already—yeah, it’s crazy. Where does the time go? Seriously. Where. Does. It. Go. Seems like it was just yesterday that I was sitting on those big blue foam mats in the kids’ playroom at my Gram’s, watching roll around until she ran out of room, and thinking “she’s mobile”. And in the next moment thinking “oh no, it’s starting”—pretty soon she’ll be walking and those gummy smiles and baby babble will turn into words—and that once the words started, there’d be no stopping her. Six years and I wasn’t wrong. She’s a little spitfire, that one. She just doesn’t stop…the talking, the running around, the attitude, the energy…it doesn’t stop. She’ll talk your ear off with that Southern accent of hers…which we can’t for the life of us figure out where she got it from. She’s all sass and Miss. I-Do-What-I-Want, so much so that it gets on your nerves sometimes, and other times when you can’t help but smile at her dramatics. She’s fiercely independent, and grows more so with each passing day (Gee, I wonder who she gets that from… lol). Six years ago she came into this world and she’s been a light in our lives ever since. That little girl, she changed me. Hell, she saved me.


IMG_6921


Her birthday’s always a little bittersweet, though. My grandfather’s—or Papa, as we called him—birthday is the day before hers. He would have been 78 this year. Sadly, he never even made it to 61. Cancer. He fought a courageous battle with it for years…but ultimately he lost. I still think about it and him some times. Of what could have been and never was. I think about him now and wonder if he’d be proud of the woman I’ve become, of all my accomplishments and successes. I think about how different everything would be if he’d lived. For the most part, he was really the only male/ father figure I’d had growing up. Sure, my actual father was still there in the background with his child support checks and maybe a call or two every few years or so, if that. But my grandfather was actually there. Physically. Emotionally. I was only 12 when he died, but I felt the loss of him, all the same. I have these little snippets of memories here and there : of him picking us up from school, taking us for ice cream when we’d had a bad day or just because or even the smell of that old beat-up, brown car he used to drive and how he’d let me sit up front in the middle and play any old cassette tape that I wanted. He spoiled us—all of us—rotten, but it was out of love. He was the one who started my collection of Beanie Babies (remember those anyone?? Lol) and add to it every chance he got. Even when he was sick and weak and on the very cusp of his final moments, he stood in line and waited with me for hours at a convention just to buy 2 Beanie Babies. Though he was in pain, he never complained or said “that’s it kid, pack it up, we’re leaving”. Though I wish now that he had. Maybe it’d alleviate some of the guilt I felt then with him dying no more than a week afterwards. I was 12. I blamed myself, convinced that his decline had something to do with my having him stand in that line all those hours despite his pain, despite the fact that his circulation and legs were so bad he could hardly walk. Looking back at that 12 year old girl, I know that rationally, it wasn’t my fault. It was the cancer that had invaded, overwhelmed, and weakened his body. It was the cancer that ripped him out of our lives before we were even ready to lose him. The cancer was to blame.


*Papa*
                         *PAPA*

It’s bittersweet, but it makes me smile to think of what he would have thought about the kids. He’d have loved them and spoiled them to pieces, no doubt. Just as he did us. That Avie of ours would have given him a run for his money, that’s for sure. And of course, they’d have him wrapped around his little finger from the very start. Without a doubt they would have.


The kids have a tradition of buying birthday balloons for their “Papa” in heaven. Sometimes they’ll write a little note on theirs to him, then let them all go—convinced that when they disappear from view, that’s a sign that Papa reached down from heaven and took them all.


I don’t do that God and heaven and hell stuff. I can’t just survive on blind faith, as they seem to so easily do. I have to have tangible proof in my hand, physical evidence to back up a claim of any kind—much to my grams’ horror and outrage. She can’t believe the little girl she’d bring to church every Sunday—who literally grew up in the church—would turn out to be such an outspoken atheist. But I did. And a lot of it has to do with my grandfather’s death. I just couldn’t justify some invisible higher power—whom people claim to be “loving” and “all-knowing”—putting my grandfather what he went through. Allowing him to suffer as he did. Taking him before he had a chance to meet his beautiful great-grandchildren. Is that the will of a “loving” God? I don’t think it is. When no one could give me a good enough reason as to why my grandfather…I guess I just eventually stopped asking. I wasn’t going to find the answers I needed in some book or hymn or The Bible, so I stopped looking. Still, I go along with the kids. It’s harmless, I guess. And they’ll eventually grow up like I did and they’ll have that some choice to ask themselves and the world. I don’t want to burst their bubbles. If they say there’s a god…and that heaven is real…then it must be true, at least to them. I want them to have faith (not necessarily religion), in whichever shape it comes in. It’ll ground them, I think. And the way the world is right now—how it’ll be for them, I have a pretty good feeling that they’re going to need it. Hell, we ALL are gonna need it.

xoMESSIE


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What A Mess.

Can’t sleep. I’ve got too much on my mind…

I have my appointment with the neurologist today. My friend Alan was asking me the other day if I was nervous about it. I’m not really nervous, per se. Anxious is more like it. I just want to get it over with, to tell you the truth. And can you really blame me? It’s been over a month now. I’ve been to the ER and clinics probably a dozen times now–seen about that many doctors, if not more. I’ve been poked and prodded, tested, tried a dozen different meds…and I’m no closer to a cure or answer to these headaches than I was a month ago. According to my primary doc, there’s a good chance that there may be nothing we CAN do about them. I don’t want to believe that, but then, I’m so tired of the meds and the doctors. Above all, I’m sick of the headaches. My world pretty much consists of good days and bad days. And the good days aren’t really good days. They’re just days when the headaches are tolerable to the degree that I don’t wish I were one of those 2nd Amendment weirdo fanatics with the ability and means to literally put an end to them, once and for all. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not suicidal. I’m not. But you have no idea what it’s like to be in constant pain. I even wear sunglasses inside the majority of the time because the lights hurt–that’s how bad it is. And it’d be one thing if it were a here and there thing. But it’s not. It’s constant. And it sucks. It’s hell. Absolute physical hell. And I just want it to stop. So I can get back to my life. I want that so badly. So, so badly. At this point, I’d pretty much do anything to make that happen. To make them stop. Hopefully this doc will have the answers that the others didn’t. Hopefully. 😦

Moreover, today’s the day the others go before the family court judge about my nieces, Emma and Ava. My sister and grams hired a lawyer and they’re going to request that my grams be granted temporary custody of the girls while the whole thing gets situated…and I’m hoping beyond hope for a miracle–that the judge grants the request. It’s been almost a week since we’ve seen them and I miss them like crazy. It’s insane how quiet it’s been without them here. It just doesn’t feel right. It feels like something’s missing. Because something is. And that something is them. Honestly–and though I hate to admit it for fear I’ll somehow jinx things or something–I’m not holding my breath or anything for any good outcomes. I want to believe that the system will work the way it should and that justice will prevail for once…but history has given me nothing but doubt. Lots and lots of doubt. It’s hard to trust a system that you’ve seen fail you and so many people so many times over the years. It’s so hard. And yet, I want to hold on to the hope. Because it’s all that we have. All that my family and my grams have. All that those girls have. And in the end, that’s what matters. That’s ALL that matters. Those girls. Only them and no one else.

I keep thinking about them. They’re all I can think about. I’ve seen pics on Facebook that her boyfriend’s mother has posted–for show, no doubt–of them…and I don’t know what to think. It’s hard to explain, but they just don’t look or seem like the girls we know. Their smiles aren’t their smiles. They aren’t them. I wonder if they’ve asked about us. If they’ve asked to come home. If they’ve cried and begged. Pleaded with their mother to be returned to the place and the people they’ve known their whole lives. I can’t believe her. She makes me angry. So damn angry. How can she do this to them? Her own kids. It’s unconscionable. So wrong. And yet…It’s so her. God, I’d love to knock her off her high horse. Oh, yes.

At the same time, I can’t help but think about where the outcome of tomorrow’s hearing puts me in terms of my return to Nashville. The plan was to see the doctors and go back. After all, I have a lease and an apartment down there that I’m paying for…where my stuff is…where my responsibilities are. I have school starting in a couple of weeks. I can’t just not go back. And yet, I can’t just leave with things so up in the air like they are right now with the girls. It’s so complicated. And I’m so conflicted. I need to go back, yet I need to stay. And I can’t choose. I just can’t.

So I won’t. At least not right now.

But soon. I know. For soon, I’ll have no choice… :/

xoMESSIE

And Sometimes They Do…

Well, I guess miracles can and DO happen. My mother got the results of her PET scan back today…and she’s in remission! No signs of cancer! I think I’m still in a state of shock, to be honest. I know in my last post I was all out with the negativity and only thinking positive and all that kind of talk…but deep down, I was so scared that it had spread. Hell, I was terrified. Now, I’m literally shaking with relief…or shock…or both. Whatever it is, I don’t care, because it’s good news. Actually, it’s great news. It means that these past five months of hell and pain that she’s endured with chemo and tests and shots weren’t for nothing. Granted, this doesn’t mean its over yet. She’ll still have to have check-ups and get her counts checked every 3 months, and then every 6 for the next 5 years or so, but it’s something…and we’ll take it. Maybe hope IS all it’s cracked up to be. And maybe if you wish for something hard enough, it comes true. I don’t know if it was medicine or some God who did this, but whatever it was, I’m grateful. Extremely grateful.

It’s hard, but I wish we could have said the same for the uncle Dick, who lost his fight in June. It’s kind of bittersweet, celebrating my mother’s good news while still mourning my uncle, who ultimately didn’t have the same luck as she is having, but I’d like to think that he’d be happy for her and for us.

xoxo

MESSIE

deborah bald is beautiful 6.26.14

Little Strokes, And Breathe…

You know how you can tell you’re heading for a burnout? Yeah…I’m there. I forget what it’s like to feel rested. I swear, sometimes I really do feel like I’m just going through the motions. I seem to have developed a lovely bout of insomnia these past few weeks, which is less lovely and more like hell. I think it’s all the stress…taking care of the twins, trying to keep up with this insane amount of school work, and the move–definitely the move–that’s got me all up in this funk of sorts. In the words of a sullen teenager…this sucks. 😦

So I decided to go ahead and make alternate plans for the move–without Ryan. As much as it kills me to do it, I know it’s for the best. In the long run, I think if he did end up moving down with me, it’d only exacerbate his issues. He needs to get things figured out and I don’t think a new city and the stress of getting settled down in a new place is going help him any. And I really want him to get well. Regardless of what happens, I do care about him. He’s a good guy–even if he is a tad bit stuck on himself and he’s a thirty-something-year-old man who refuses to grow up. I’ve thought about it a lot over the past few days and I’ve come to the realization that you can’t fix people. You can be there for them. You can be their shoulder to lean on. But in the end, they have to fix themselves. It’s not up to me to judge him or tell him how to live his life. He has to want to change for himself. He says he’s there, at that point, but I just don’t know. And I’ve struggled with this, but I just can’t bring that kind of uncertainty down to Tennessee with me. I just can’t. This means way too much to me. This is my chance. This is my make it or break it moment. I have so much riding on this, so many people watching and just waiting for me to screw up and I can’t–I won’t–give them the satisfaction. Not this time.

Speaking of stress, it doesn’t help that my mom is sick. God, I hate cancer. I really do. It’s just taken so much from me and my family already and I hate it. I really do. She’s fighting back though. Or trying to. She finished her chemo treatments at the end of last month, so she’ll be going for her PET scan one day next week. A couple of days after that, she and my sister will be going out to Roswell in Buffalo and she’ll find out then if the chemo’s done its job or god forbid, the cancer has spread. Honestly, I don’t even want to think about the latter. I just can’t. It’s too much right now to deal with, on top of everything else. It’ll change everything, I know…and I don’t want to go there. For once in my life, I don’t want to be jaded or cynical. I want to hold on to the hope that miracles can and DO happen. That just because cancer has screwed us in the past, doesn’t mean it’ll win this time. I have to have faith that my mother IS the exception….and that’s she’s strong enough to beat this. She and I haven’t always seen eye to eye in the past, but she’s still my mother. Though there’s been times I’ve questioned her judgement and resented her for it, she gave me life. This crazy, hectic, mostly a beautiful disaster that I call a life. It hasn’t always been easy, but as the saying goes, it’s been worth it. I have so much to be grateful for–so much that I’m just realizing…and it all starts with her. Honestly, I can’t imagine a world without her in it. She has her moments and I have mine where I wonder how we’re even related–but I think I’d miss her bitching and nitpicking. She’s part of my crazy, dysfunctional puzzle that I call a family. And in the end, family is really all that you’ve got. But like I said…I’m turning over a new leaf and saying out with all the negativity. I don’t need it in my life. Nope. It’s all rainbows and puppies right now.

Life is good. A little chaotic…a bit of a mess…all kinds of insane…but good, nevertheless. For the moment. And I’m going to be grateful for that right now. Because right now…today…is all we’re guaranteed, as they say. Tomorrow…is a mystery.

xoxo

MESSIE

 

Goodbye’s The Hardest Part.

Had the memorial for my uncle yesterday… it was hard. Harder than I guess I expected it to be. His nephew gave a beautiful eulogy that brought tears to my eyes just listening. Avie sat on my lap during the service and when she whispered in my ear, “Uncle Dick can hear this”, I almost started crying. I honestly don’t know if there’s such a thing as Heaven, but holding her and seeing the conviction on her face when she said the words, I sincerely wanted to believe that there is…so I nodded in agreement. Wherever he is, I’m sure he would have been humbled and proud, of everyone.

Because he was a Navy Veteran, a couple Navy officers were there and they performed the military honors during the service. Naturally, I cried during the playing of “Taps” and when I watched them present my aunt with the flag and saw her just start sobbing…it was something I don’t think that I’ll ever forget. I mean, it’s one thing to watch something like that on TV…but quite another to witness it first-hand. It was emotional. Beautiful and touching…and emotional.

My aunt is holding it together well…or as well as can be expected, I guess I should say. She broke down a few times that I saw–which was tough to watch. It’s hard seeing her like that…worse, knowing this hasn’t yet really sunk in for her. Once it does…I feel so bad for her. To lose someone that was literally your whole world–I don’t know how you handle that…how you survive. But as my grams said…she’s tough and she comes from strong stock…she’ll get through this. She will…I just think it’s going to be a long, long road for her. And I hate to see her, someone I love and respect so much, go through that. I think anyone would.

It was weird being at their place, though. I went up there with my mother when I got into town Friday morning to see my aunt and get all the pictures for the collage I was supposed to do for the service. The first thing I did when I walked through the door was look towards the direction of the couch where he was sitting the last time I saw him on Memorial Day, when I said goodbye to him and he smiled and waved. It felt strangely empty, him not being there. Just weird altogether.

He was a good man though…someone who won’t soon be forgotten, as his nephew reiterated in his eulogy yesterday. Not by us or anyone who knew him. And certainly not by my aunt…who was reminded of his love Friday afternoon when she decided to go ahead and order flowers for the service, despite the fact that he wasn’t a fan of flowers and had expressed his desire for there to NOT be flowers at the service when they’d gone ahead of time and taken care of the funeral arrangements the month before he passed. She was telling us as she broke down in tears how she opened his wallet at the florist and there was the money and a note in there that indicated it was for the flowers. How he knew…I don’t know. But it was a sweet gesture…just a reminder of how special and amazing he truly, truly was. I’ll miss him. So much.

“Those we love don’t go away.

They walk beside us everyday.

Unseen, unheard, but always near.

Still loved, missed, and very dear.”

-Author Unknown-

Uncle Dick's memorial collage - without writing

xoxo, MESSIE

 

Rest In Peace, Uncle.

We just got the call a little while ago. My uncle passed away tonight…

It doesn’t seem real. None of this does. Even though we knew this was going to happen…and soon…it just doesn’t seem real. We’d all hoped he’d have the summer, at least. He’d said it himself when he decided to stop the chemo and all treatment…that he wanted the summer to get his strength back up and do the things he’d been wanting to do…to enjoy the time he had left. He wanted to live. He wanted to go up to the 1000 Islands where my great-uncle has some cabins and go fishing one last time. He and my aunt had made the reservations and everything, but had to cancel at the last minute last week because of how weak he’d gotten.  He hadn’t been doing well the past week…and just the weekend my aunt told my mother that Hospice didn’t think it’d be much longer. Yesterday, we got the news that they didn’t think he’d make it 24 hours…and they were right. My sister stopped up there after work to see him…to say goodbye. She didn’t want him to pass and her not have been there one last time. She was just telling me not two hours ago how weak and frail he’d looked…how horrible it’d been for her to see him that way. Apparently his daughters were there, already going through his things and claiming what they wanted…the sick bitches. Vultures, are what they are. They really are. He might be their father, but they’ve barely had anything to do with him over the years. And now they come swooping in at the very end to claim entitlement to parts and pieces of his life that don’t belong to them…at all. It’s sick. It’s despicable. It’s a good thing I wasn’t there because I wouldn’t have kept my mouth shut…despite the fact that I’ve never met either of them before. I don’t care…it’s wrong.

My sister had asked me if I wanted to drive out tomorrow and see him myself…before we got the call. I told her no…I didn’t want to see him like that. I really didn’t. Death and situations like this make me really uncomfortable, to say the least. I don’t know what to say or do and I end up feeling pretty much like I’m feeling now…helpless and useless. I wish there was something I could right now for my aunt, who is probably a total mess right now…but there’s little I can do from here…me being almost 2 hours away right now. My mother and sister went up to be with her, I know…and I’m sure his daughters and Hospice are there and the last thing they need right now is more people.

The next few days are going to be bad. I really don’t know how to accept this. I mean, I know I wasn’t all that close to him, but he was family. He’s been my uncle for as long as I can remember. One of the few male figures that’s been there in my life…which is saying a lot. I can’t picture my aunt without him. Or family functions without him there. I regret now that I didn’t take the time to talk to him more on Memorial Day when we had our cookout there. I said goodbye that day like any other day, like a see you later. I never thought that would be the last time I’d talk to him.

My grandmother would say that he’s at peace now. That he’s in Heaven. And I’d like to believe that, I really would. At least that would be a small consolation that there’s some kind of happy ending here. But honestly, I find it so hard to believe in Heaven or a God who could do this…make him suffer like he did these past few months…who’d take him before he had a chance to live out his final wishes, before he was ready to go. It’s hard to see the reason in this. Maybe there is one…but I don’t see it. I’m thankful he’s no longer in pain or suffering, I am…but I’m sad that he’s gone. That there’s this loss…this void now in my family that can’t be refilled. Wherever he is, I do hope he is at peace. I hope that with all my heart.

RIP Uncle Dick. You’ll be forever missed. And if my grandmother is right and you’re up there in Heaven, say hi to Papa for me. I’m sure the two of you will have plenty of stories to share.  🙂

xoxo, Your Niece MESSIE

Can't believe this was just a year ago...
Can’t believe this was taken just a year ago… RIP UNCLE DICK

 

 

And The Hits Just Keep On Coming.

Well, things have been pretty up-and-down since my last post, as is to be expected, I guess.

My mother finally had her appointment with the oncologist. It’s Stage Two Ovarian Cancer, which in terms of stages anyhow, is somewhat good news. As far as they know, it hasn’t spread beyond where it was found and that relatively, it’s in the early stages, so the better her chances are at beating this thing. She’ll be having chemotherapy, of course. Her first session will be later this week, I believe. Then she’ll have two more sessions, after which she has to have another surgery to remove her uterus and complete the partial hysterectomy she had in her previous surgery last month. Why they didn’t just take everything when they were in there last time is beyond me, but these doctors–in my opinion–are–to put it nicely–friggin idiots. I say that because they are. Or most of them are, I should say. I mean, it’s hard enough to find out that your mother has been diagnosed with cancer, but to find out that it could and SHOULD have been detected far sooner than it was–now that’s just unacceptable. The doctors found the cysts back in February and despite the fact that she’d gone to the Emergency Room on several different occasions because of the pain the cysts were causing—and despite the fact that the cysts her found to be growing at a rapid rate each time they did their sonograms and tests—AND despite the history of ovarian cancer in the family (my maternal great-grandmother died from Ovarian Cancer the year I was born)–despite ALL OF THAT, no one ever mentioned the c-word…or even tested her blood for abnormal levels of the cancer antigen. Could they have prevented her from getting cancer–probably not, but they sure as hell could have prevented it from spreading as it has to get to this point. If that’s not medical malpractice and negligence, I don’t know what is.  I get that doctors are human and that they too, sometimes make mistakes…but come on. This is just ridiculous. Really. You’re holding a person’s life in your hands…you can’t afford to make easy mistakes such as not running a simple blood test. To say that it’s just a mistake is bullshit. It’s careless medicine. Once my mother beats this, and I have to have faith that she will, she should sue the idiot doctors that missed the diagnosis and brushed off her worries every time she went to be seen. At the very least, she should sue them. Granted, it won’t change what she’s had to go through, or will continue to go through even after the cancer’s beat…but it’s something.

Unfortunately, there’s only bad news to report for my uncle Dick. He’s not doing good at all. We all got together at his and my aunt’s place, like we always do, for the annual family Memorial Day cookout last week. My brother-in-law took over the cooking, which normally would have been my uncle’s task…one that he, naturally, wasn’t up to this year. As happy as I know he was to see and have everyone there, he wasn’t in good shape. He spent most of the day in the house, away from the festivities, on his oxygen because the wind and fresh air was just too much for him. It was hard to see him like that…like this, to see him barely holding on. It just feels wrong, you know? Wrong. My sister and I stopped in with the kids Friday afternoon since we were in the area so he could see the boys, but he was sleeping on the couch and though we stuck around awhile, he didn’t wake up to see them. My aunt told my sister that they’d gone and made the funeral arrangements just a few days before…and that she didn’t think he had much longer. We were all hoping he’d at least have the summer, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be having even that. It was horrible, seeing my aunt stand there crying, admitting that she’d started having panic attacks in light of everything and that she didn’t know what she was going to do–God, it was hell. It really was. More so in that I don’t have the slightest idea of what to say to her. I really, really don’t.

It’s just sad, all around.

And to top it all off, I’m hobbling around again with this damn hurt ankle of mine. Went to see the ortho surgeon again on Friday, and yet again–surgery was suggested and shot down…by me, AGAIN. They did more x-rays, which found a healing fracture that had until then, gone undetected…which suggests that when I fell back in November, the bone was in fact, broken…and they never caught it. Which is just freaking wonderful, isn’t it? Oh yeah. And then there’s the matter of the ligaments and cartilage that’s all messed up in there. Since I shot down the surgery option, the doc suggested a cortisone injection for the pain. Stupid me, I went for it. I figured, what the hell. It’s just a shot…it can’t be that bad. Yeah…bad assumption on my part. Big time. First off–I nearly passed out when I saw the size of that needle. And screw that numbing spray–I felt EVERYTHING as she kept pulling the needle out and moving it around in there until there was literally a huge lump of cortisone inside my ankle. By the time I got home, my ankle was throbbing. I figured it was nothing and just wrote it off as having just had a huge ass needle stuck inside my ankle…but it got worse. It’s been hurting like a bitch–pardon my language–ever since. So needless to say, pain killers have been my bestest friend these past 48 hours. So since I’ve been laid up (because walking around is NOT an option) I decided to do a little research on it. Lo and behold, I found that it’s quite common…pain after a cortisone injection. It’s called a “steroid flare”, I believe. It can last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks…which isn’t a very comforting thought. Especially since my doctor said NOTHING about it before giving me the shot. Absolutely nothing. She simply said that the shot should help take away the ankle pain…not that the shot will CAUSE more/worse pain. If I’d known that, believe me, I never would have agreed to it. Especially since the pain I’m having now is twice that of the pain I was having BEFORE I got the shot. I mean, the whole point is to eliminate the pain, not ADD to it, you know? So yeah, I’m in a bit of a narcotic-fog while I type this, but it’s unavoidable. Hopefully, this “steroid flare” doesn’t last much longer and the cortisone works as it was intended to. Here’s me hoping…

‘Til next time.

Always, xoxo MESSIE

F*** You Cancer!

My mother has cancer.

My mother has cancer.

I guess I wrote that twice in the hopes that maybe it’d sink in…but it hasn’t yet. I dread the day that it does. We found out a week ago today, exactly. I found out over the phone which to be perfectly frank…wasn’t the greatest way to find out. Though, I guess there really is no easy way to find out something like that, but yeah. It was a normal Wednesday with the boys when my brother-in-law called me from work to say that he was coming to pick me and the boys up to drive out to my grams’ because apparently my sister had called my mother on her break at work to find out how my mother’s doctor’s appointment that morning had gone and it was “not good”… and she wanted us all out there. Since I’m not the real patient-type—at all—I—naturally—called my grams to find out what was up. That’s when she told me. Well, technically, I guessed. She said that the results of the biopsy from the tests that were sent out–from when my mother had had her surgery to remove some large cysts on her ovaries the week before—had come back and they “weren’t good”. Those two words again…yeah. So I asked her what that meant and she said, I think you know what it means. So I said cancer and she said yeah. That’s how I found out. After my grams asked if I wanted to talk to my mother then, who was sitting there next to her, and I said no and hung up…and literally burst into tears.

Honestly, all I could think in that moment was You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. I mean seriously. After everything with my Uncle’s cancer and just recently finding out about them bringing Hospice in for him—and now this…right on the heels of that…seriously…what gives? My family doesn’t need this…and as screwed up and dysfunctional as we are sometimes—we don’t deserve it. It’s just not fair. It’s not fair at all.

My mother’s only 53 years old. Only. Comparatively…that’s way too young to die. And I know, I know…I talk way too lightly about the subject of death…but this is different. This is my mother. My mother. The person who gave birth to me. The woman who gave me life. Granted, she and I haven’t always had the best mother/daughter relationship…but she’s still my mother. I still love her and care about what happens to her. And I know this sounds really selfish, but I’m only 26. I’m not ready for my mother to die. I mean, I know there’s no good age to lose a parent, but you know what I mean. I’m just not ready. And she’s not ready. She’s got grandkids to see grow up. The two little guys that I spend nearly every waking minute and hour with these days—she needs to be there for their little league and pop warner games and be the annoying grandma cheering loud and embarrassingly from the sidelines. She needs to be there to see Angelina become a teenager and go to her prom and graduate high school. I need her there when I finally decide to settle down and get married and have my own family. All our differences and the past aside, I need her.

I’m not going to lie, it was horrible driving out there and being there…knowing. She was sitting on the porch with my grams when we got there and I just busied myself with getting the boys stuff unpacked and everything because facing her right then…just wasn’t an option. Not if I wanted to keep my composure, anyhow. It sucked even more when her and my brother-in-law started talking about it and what the doctor at the appointment that morning had said—discussing it so matter-of-factly that I just wanted to be a five-year-old in that moment and cover my ears and shut it and them all out. I didn’t want to hear about it. I didn’t want to face it or accept it. Hell, I still don’t. I still haven’t, to tell you the truth. I’d say the worst part though was when my sister got home from work and Angelina got home from school…and my mother sat them down in the dining room and told them the news. That was the worst. I literally walked in from the porch and there was my 11-year-old niece sobbing on my mother’s lap that she didn’t want her to die…and my sister sobbing in the chair next to her. I just sat down and stared at my hands in my lap, lucky my tears were concealed by my sunglasses and the dim lighting in the room. Later, on the porch, Angelina crawled into my lap and cried some more…asking me what happens now. I just sat there and shook my head…telling her I had absolutely no idea. I know I should have told her that everything was going to be okay…that it was what she probably needed to hear right then…but call me jaded or cynical, whatever—I just couldn’t lie to her. Not when I’m just as confused and scared as she is right now. The truth is, we don’t know what’s going to happen. No one does. And I think that’s the scariest part. Not knowing.

We still don’t know what kind of cancer it is exactly. Or what stage it’s in. Or anything, really. She has an appointment this Friday with an oncologist out here and hopefully we’ll know more after that. We do know that either way, she’ll have to have chemotherapy. Other than that…we’re still kind of in the dark on everything. And I’ll be perfectly honest…it sucks. It all just sucks. But mostly…cancer sucks. It really, really does.

So fuck you Cancer. Seriously… Fuck you.

xoxo Messie

Sadness All-Around Today.

Well, it hasn’t been a good start to the week…and today was no better. My sister shared the news today that they’ve gone and brought in Hospice services for my Uncle Dick. He has stage 4 head and neck cancer that was diagnosed late last year…and needless to say, it’s been a horrible time for the family. I’m not especially close with him, but the past couple of years, I have gotten close to his wife, my Aunt Dar. It’s a long story, but we’ve sort of bonded over a certain hatred and detestation for another family member–which I know, sounds horrible, but if you knew this individual then you’d completely understand that in her case, water is definitely thicker if you know what I mean–but anyhow, yeah that’s how it is. So in spending more time with her, I’ve gotten to spend more time with and gotten to know my uncle more. Which makes this especially hard. I mean, I know that death is just part of the life cycle and that it’s going to happen at some point to everyone–and maybe my view of the subject is a little eccentric to some in that I’m overly sensitive on the subject–but that doesn’t mean that I don’t care. Or that it doesn’t effect me, because it does. When it impacts and effects those I care about–good people–it does.

Cancer. I hate it. I really, really hate it. It’s taken far too many people that I care about already, and I hate that. But I think that this time, in my Uncle’s case, it’s especially hard for the fact that the progression of this disease could have, at the very least, been halted if not necessarily prevented. He had a tumor in his neck that he basically ignored for months, refusing to see a doctor about the abnormal growth. I can only assume what anyone would assume as to why he didn’t do anything about it, and that is that he was in denial. And probably scared. When it first became noticeable, he’d only recently lost his own father to cancer, so I’m sure he had a good guess that it wasn’t good…and he didn’t want to know. Honestly…I can’t say that I wouldn’t have done the same, were I in his shoes. I mean, no one wants to hear a bad diagnosis…especially not on the heels of a loss of that magnitude like losing a parent. And cancer…no one wants to hear that word. Ever. So I understand his thought process…but still, it’s hard to understand how he could let it go as long as he did without at least getting it checked out. By the time he did…and then by the time they diagnosed it and figured out what kind it was, it was already stage 4. By no means am I trying to say that it’s his fault, because that’s just not true or how I feel. Cancer is no one’s fault. It just happens. There’s no one to blame, except maybe God…if you believe in religion and all that…which personally, I’m still trying to figure out what I believe and what I don’t in that area, so yeah. Either way, the type of cancer that he has is apparently really aggressive, so even if he had gotten checked out sooner, there’s no guarantee the outcome would have been any different than it is now.

Still…it sucks. It really, really does. He didn’t give up though. He tried. He did the rounds of radiation and chemo. The tumor on his neck shrunk considerably even…so we thought maybe it was working. We were wrong. Just last month he was in Upstate for a week for what would be his final round of some pretty nasty chemotherapy. We were all hopeful, but then his scans came back and we learned the awful news that the cancer had spread. It’s in his lungs and liver and bones now. For Easter we all got together at my grams’ for dinner–rather than doing it out here like we’d originally planned on doing. No one came out and said it, but the change of plans was for my Uncle’s benefit. He was really happy when he found out that we’d switched to my grams, so he could be there, rather than make the over an hour and a half drive out here they would have had to have made if he’d chosen to come. For the most part, the holiday went smoothly. My Aunt came down earlier on her own to join us for the games and activities with the kids, then I joined her on the drive to pick up my Uncle to bring him back to the house for dinner. That was when she broke down and told me the news…that they’d gone to the doctor’s and he’d decided to stop treatment. That he was done. I just sat there, you know, at a total loss for what to say. I mean, what DO you say to something like that? “I’m sorry” just sounds so trite, you know? I don’t know, I just feel so BAD for her. He’s all she has, really. They’ve been together forever, it seems. They were together for 16 years before they got married back in 1999, so that’s 31 years. I can’t even imagine being with one person for that long. It’s like a lifetime. Heck, it is a lifetime. Believe it or not, they got married on my birthday that year. Yep. I spent my 12th birthday as a bridesmaid in their wedding by the lake at their Summer camp. It was such a beautiful, joyous day. Not to be morbid or sound selfish, but now my birthday is going to be a sad day for her–and I hate that. For her, not for me because personally, I hate my birthday–I’d skip the day if I could. But she’s always going to be reminded of another anniversary that she won’t be able to share and celebrate with him when he’s gone. I feel so bad for her, you know? I mean, without him, she’s going to be all alone. She was never the “motherly” type, so she never wanted or had kids. They had a beagle that was kind of like their kid–and they were absolutely wrecked when he died some years ago. He’s got kids from a previous marriage that are grown with kids of their own…but my aunt’s not especially close with them, so it’ll be just her. I don’t know how she’s going to take it…losing him…I really don’t. I just have a feeling…no, I know…that it’s going to be bad. Really bad. Hell, it’s already horrible. She’s already a mess. And I feel so helpless, you know? I mean, I’m all the way out here so there’s really not much that I can do. And I’m really not a person to lean on in situations like these…death. I meant it before when I said that I don’t know what to say or do in these situations. I really don’t. That’s why I hate funerals so much and avoid them at all costs…because I don’t know what to do. I hate wakes when you have to go through the receiving line of all the loved ones. I like literally stand there and say nothing because it just feels so…awkward and useless I guess you could say….to say “I’m sorry for your loss.”  That’s my take on it, anyhow.

We’re supposed to do Memorial Day there this year…like we do every year. I don’t know how that’s going to go, but it’s going to sad, I know that much. I mean, how else is there a way to describe what will most likely be my uncle’s last Memorial Day celebration? Sad is really the only word that covers it. I almost don’t want to go, you know? I know that’s a horrible thing to say, but I’d rather not say goodbye. It’s just so final and it feels wrong. I mean, cancer always is. It’s wrong. It’s unfair.

Speaking of the horrible “C” word, it seems to be spreading it’s horrible fortune around this week. On Monday I saw on Facebook that Jenna Hinman, a local woman that two months ago was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer after prematurely giving birth to twin girls, passed away. I didn’t know the woman, but it’s hard not to feel something when you read her story. She was local…just a week ago they had a big benefit for her here in the city where I live now …and dedicated the day to her in an official ceremony. She was just 26 years old. The same age as I am. So yeah…it’s mind-blowing. It really makes you wake up and realize what you have…and be thankful, I guess. I can’t imagine the hell her family is going through right now. Her husband, a member of the service, just lost his wife. And their two little girls, who just recently got to leave the NICU finally and go home, will never know their mother who loved them so much that she literally died for them. It’s just a horrible, tragic situation and story all around and it just makes me want to cry thinking about it. I know people say that everything is meant to be and that everything happens for a reason…but I don’t see the reason there. I just don’t. It’s not right. It’s just…it’s wrong. People talk about prayers and trusting “God” to do what’s right…well, I’m sorry, but I’d say HE dropped the ball on that one there, wouldn’t you? For those of you who aren’t familiar with her story, you can read about it here at https://www.facebook.com/prayersforjenna and maybe leave some well wishes on the page her amazing friends put up on Facebook for her.

Anyhow…yeah, it hasn’t been a good week. But I guess it could be worse…somehow. Ugh…time to get some sleep. Got two little twin boys that don’t care if their Auntie Jo wants to see what 5 am looks like every day or not ’cause she’s gonna anyways 🙂 So…’Night ya’ll!!

xoxo MESSIE

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