Happy Mother’s Day to everyone out there who has been brave enough to take on this most important, most joyful, most heartbreaking job in the world. We actually celebrated yesterday, because that was the day when all of us were able to be together. The photo above is actually of the flowers my grandson gave to his mama for Mother’s Day (with a little help from grandpop). He also gave me beautiful flowers, and each bouquet was very thoughtfully chosen. My daughter Johnna is a rainbow child, so she got rainbow daisies, and my room in my new home is no longer lavender, but my curtains and sheets are, so my bouquet was chosen in my colors. My husband did good.
They are both beautiful and well thought out. But as I was looking at those rainbow daisies, I was reminded that I had another daughter who was a child of the rainbow. Michaela. The delicate flowers with the beautifully applied coloring suddenly filled my heart with her presence, and I had to sit and sob for just a bit, while my other rainbow child held me.
Honestly, I feel Michaela’s presence still, right this minute. I look at her photo across the room from me, and I can feel her come out of it, move towards me. I can feel her sit on my bed, and she holds me too.
Recently, the mother of another long missing child from the Bay Area lost her battle with cancer. Whenever asked how she coped with having a missing child, she said (publicly anyway) that every day she got out of bed, put her feet on the floor, and said, this is the day my daughter will come home. When I heard of her death, my thought was that finally the day had come that this was true, only it was the mother going home to the daughter.
If you read my previous blog, you know that last week I underwent a biopsy for cancer. Of course, I am a survivor of Stage 3C breast cancer, two and a half years out of treatment right now. And I won’t get the results of the biopsy until next week, but the doctors and examiners seem pretty certain it is cancer. The MRI report said it is definitely not a cyst and it is not a lipoma, both of which would be logical, non-lethal explanations. The MRI says it is a very unusual abnormality; first guess is sarcoma, although metastasized lobular breast cancer is definitely a possibility. Both are very unusual cancers. Only 10-20 percent of breast cancers are lobular.
But I’ve been through this before. As my previous oncologist said, “You have a very bad cancer.” But I went through the treatments, and it wasn’t a party, but I had great treatment and I tolerated them very well, and was left “cancer free.” So I would just do that again. I was terrified of everything the first time I went through it. But now I know what it is, and what it isn’t, and I am not.
But you never entertain a cancer diagnosis without considering the possibility of dying. I’m not actually afraid of dying, which I guess is an easy thing to say as long as it is only a possibility. When I thought about it, the first thing that popped into my vision was actually Spike, my dog who died late last year, and I could feel him leap into my arms. I could feel the feeling of holding him. He was a little seven pound dog who could just melt right into you, unlike my other dogs, who are 14-20 pounds, and it felt so sweet. And behind him were Michaela and my mother, and I hugged them both. But I told them, as much as I would love to be with you, I can’t do that now. There are too many people here who need me. My daughter, who lives with me, along with my grandson. We are both here in this strange, beautiful, peaceful place where we have not even had a chance to make friends, because the corona virus separated everyone from each other within a month of our arrival, leaving us to be each other’s best friends and main source of emotional support. My husband, well, he is pretty strong and self sufficient, but I know he loves me. When we were getting in the car to go to my first chemotherapy treatment, he told me that if he could take the cancer for me and spare me, he would. My children who are far away would grieve. I have more grandchildren to meet yet. And I told Spike, you know these other three dogs need me more than you do. Everyone loves them, but nobody loves them like I do, and nobody has the time to devote to them that I do.
Plus, I’m happy. I’m more at peace than I have been in a long time. I am loving life. And I want to continue doing that.
Not a very cheerful Happy Mother’s Day post, and I apologize for that. But being a mother is not for the faint of heart. We are all strong or we wouldn’t be here, doing what we are doing.
To Michaela, you are the one who curled her tiny fingers around mine and transformed me. You are the first one ever to call me mama. Thank you, for giving me this gift. If you are still out there somewhere, I would guess that by this time you are a mama too. You could even be reading this, from a situation where you would have to choose between coming home and being free, or staying and protecting your children, maybe even grandchildren. I just want you to know that if this is the case, I understand. I would care and protect my children before anything else in the world. I do. I will. So if that is the case, you have my blessing, as well as my love forever. Happy Mother’s Day, baby girl.