I am a writer. I feel the urge to write, just as I feel the urge to go to the gym. I need the clearing of my mind, the tapping of my fingers against the keyboard, creating some sort of healing and mental therapy that I can’t seem to really grasp. But I write.
Although lately I notice I have been avoiding my keyboard altogether. I can hear the keys whispering my name, haunting me with the amount of days that have passed since my last session of tap, tap, tapping…but I ignore it. I pretend I am too busy. I pretend that my new fixation of meditation and praying for answers is enough.
But it is not.
I am a writer. I yearn to write but when I do, I don’t look for answers from some far away space, or higher power; instead, I look to see what my fingers will tap out. What words my brain will transform into thoughtful ideas on a page, eventually giving me hope and inspiration…all the while simply regurgitating thoughts deeply imbedded in my heart.
Yet I have evaded my laptop in the past few weeks, as my mom rounds the corner of being a survivor of stage IV pancreatic cancer…for 2 and a half years. Given just 3 months to live, she has carried on for 2.5 years! I have felt a gratefulness everyday to witness her strength, her courage, and her will to survive, even when all of the odds were against her. Her tiny little body, her beautiful face, the twinkle in her eyes…the miracle of survivors that she had become. I didn’t take a single day for granted. I counted each moment with her as one grand celebration of life. Bowing down to the earth for having her at my wedding, my younger sons high school graduation, my older sons college graduation, for sharing daily memories as well. Not a day has passed since her diagnosis that we haven’t spoken. Changing ‘how do you feel?’ into ‘What will you do today?’
Two and a half years has felt like a day, maybe a week, or maybe even a month. But not nearly enough.
I have been grateful not only for all of the days, but also for each of the memories that life has allowed us. I have leaned in to what life has given us and embraced my faith, my belief in miracles, and my trust in the universe to only give us what we could handle. Yet even after all of the gratefulness, as we round the corner and watch her grow more and more in pain, I can’t help but feel cheated. Surely I knew this could not go on forever. Surely I knew how this story would end. Surely I knew what ‘deadly’ meant. Surely I knew there would come a time when she might just say she has had enough. But I held on with belief in my back pocket.
In the beginning I just prayed for more time. Then I would beg for specific events: birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, celebrations, and holidays…it seemed easy. Prayers were answered over and over again.
But now, I feel the struggle between being grateful and selfish like a noose around my neck, slowly making it harder and harder to breathe. Where once the answers to my own questions have come easily, now I am fearful to even ask. Fearful of what I will hear.
I do not know how I will live without her. I do not know how my life will look when I cannot hear her sweet voice whenever I need her or she needs me. I do not know how it will be to not hold her hand in mine. To not hear the stories about her day, her worries, her life. I do not know how it will be to not hear her say ‘I love you.’
She is my mamma. My best friend. My inspiration. My hero. And today I found the courage to write, not because I know how I will live without her, but because I hope and pray that having her embedded deep inside me…will be enough to make me feel that I never really have to be without her.