Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Voice mail

Mom didn’t see the doctor today when she got treated, but her blood counts are okay. I forgot to ask if they took another liver function.

Nancy used to work in the old oncologist’s office, but then there were weird political things and, long story short, she quit. When Mom’s oncologist retired from that office, Mom chose to seek treatment at a large cancer center rather than with another doctor in the same small office. Nancy is one of the chemo nurses at the cancer center now, so Mom sees her almost every time she gets treated.

People in chemo get to know their nurses and fellow patients pretty well. Mom had two close “chemo buddies” die when she was at the other office. One was 31 years old.

Nancy knows Mom well, and her daughter used to work for Mom’s transcription business. Today, she asked Mom how she was doing at home, how the business was, and how much she was still working, and she was disappointed by the answer. Mom’s still doing some typing and proofreading, and Nancy thinks she should be doing what she enjoys in the time that she feels well. This seems so obvious, but when things need to get done, we just do them. Mom and I do the things that we feel responsible for, not always what we want.

Mom wants me to get on with my life. She thinks I’m not getting on with my life and living it and doing what I want. The stoic part of me can’t tell her that not a single part of me would choose to do anything else. All of me wants this to be different, but all of me knows that it’s not. Given the circumstances, this is what I want my life to be.


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