When it was ending

When it was ending

Walking through the empty white hallways of Rush University holding my mother's hand with my sister beside me, I thought back to the first time I realized that I was too old to still hold her hand and no longer wanted to. I was 15 and my mother and I were on a quest to find my freshmen year military ball dress. We were crossing the street, the sky was ashy and the air was tinged with something strange. Something tempting, cold, and different.

I felt like I was walking backwards today. Like I was witnessing something that I wasn't meant to. A dear friend of my mother's whom I've grown close to over the years lay on a bed in front of me, small and fragile with her body on the brink of shattering like an antique porcelain doll. I remember making a trip to see her just four weeks ago with my mom to bring her some milk and ice cream that she was desperately craving. Just four weeks ago she couldn't get enough of the taste of vanilla and ten hours ago, she couldn't even stand the taste of water on her parted lips.

My mother's best friend is losing her battle with cancer. It came out of nowhere and so fast too, but I guess that's how it always happens. It makes me think about how British broadcaster John Diamond once said, "Cancer is not a word, it's a sentence." Time and time again since the age of 16, I have watched this sentence come to life. Today, the two people who happened to text me while heading to hospice care were two of my most beloved friends who both lost their mother to cancer. I went to both of their funerals, went through the horribly mundane act of picking out flowers that don't boast happiness but sorrow in the exact amount.

Over the past eight years, I've watched both of these girls break trying to say goodbye to someone who we all at a point think is immortal. And over the past eight years, I've watched these girls grow into women. Into a couple of fine, strong, and very independent women.

I have no words for my mother right now to console her. I have no remedies to erase the memories I have of a woman who would order me pizza and keep my sister and I company while my mom was out running errands. Of the woman who would call me on holidays just to say, "I love you." But times like this, while walking through a bleak and silent hallway with my sobbing mother, I realize just how much I have and just how small and fickle life and circumstances are. Times like this make me appreciate the fact that I still have a hand to hold that wants to hold mine back.

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