Posts Tagged ‘edna st vincent millay’

candles burned at both ends.

4 January 2009

two years ago on this date my mother received her initial diagnosis of cancer. my family treated it, as we do all hardships, with alacrity. treatment was just a part of life, to be weathered like anything else, and we’d greet each other on the opposite side, healthier and stronger. honestly, why shouldn’t one be optimistic when the experts are saying, minor and full recovery? i won’t pretend, however, that their opinions held much weight in relevance to our behavior, because, whatever the prognosis, it didn’t fundamentally change who we were. we proceeded with caution, certainly, but with what some may view as levity but could more accurately be attributed to keen senses of humor and the inability to censor one’s thoughts before verbalizing them. plus, the ghost of richard carlson advised us that no stuff was worth our sweat.

on trips to the cancer center for radiation and chemotherapy, my dad for prostate and my mom for tonsilar, they joked that they were taking their marriage vows too seriously and, perhaps, they didn’t have to do absolutely everything together. aside from my mother ordering only soup at restaurants for months, nothing substantial changed: i visited from time to time and talked to her on the phone frequently. then my dad was cured. then she was cured.

today, sitting next to her on the bed, my mother, whom eight months previously, a couple days before she had surgery to remove her larnyx which would render her mute, confided, i don’t like the sound of my voice anyway, passed me a handwritten note. in it she told us that she couldn’t fight any longer. she recognized that continued treatment was only making her weaker, thus she was canceling all scheduled appointments. she ended with, you need to be strong.

today is my thirteith birthday.


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