Wow, the irony in everything is just overwhelming to me at the moment…

I cancelled our Christmas reservation in the cozy Gold Country B&B yesterday; needless to say, my original plan to go with or without anyone else has fizzled into a memory from a time when the world looked and felt quite different; what was that, like two weeks ago or something? We had both been so looking forward to the trip, too…the very FIRST thing we ever planned together…surely the last one, too…

Mom says we’ll go in the springtime; I smile at her and wink from across the room. I smile and nod a lot to her agreeably, in spite of the tears stinging behind my eyes constantly and unrelentingly. I honestly look like I’ve aged like 10 years in the past week, and don’t give two fucks about it.

So, here’s my newest tangle within myself:

My readers know I have issues…with my Mama, myself, and the past. With her being given a death sentence and failing so suddenly and totally, obviously those issues have begun to kick for the surface. I am trying to remain realistic about things, and have accepted the fact that this is going to leave me with some newborn causes for sessions with the over-caffeinated tree squirrel, regardless of how it all actually unfolds.

Historically speaking, my mother is impossible to please, truly she is…I’ve written about it before. She is NEVER satisfied with the job I’ve done at anything, there’s always something I left off or did incorrectly. Willow gives away little affection, and what she gives, comes guardedly and with strings attached. So, since she has been diagnosed and had to begin treatments and all sorts of degrading and invasive medical procedures, there has not been a single instance in which she has even seemed remotely satisfied with anything I’m doing; be it the way I pilot her wheelchair around the hospital, the way I wash her laundry, the way I pack her bag in the morning, or even how I tie her shoes. It’s been a lot of instances with me trying my best to make her as comfortable as humanly possible, and her being absolutely miserable no matter what I do. I do realize she is in a very bad place, and not much will give her any joy or happiness, per se, but that doesn’t make the fact that I can’t even make her smile bear any less weight on my heavy heart.

The cough:

The coughing is literally non-stop right now; and, please do trust me when I say that I fully understand that this element is NOT harder on ANYBODY than her; she has spent the past two weeks solid in gasping for breath and panicking when it won’t come. Does anyone reading this have the slightest clue what it is like to watch your Mama suffocate from the inside before your very eyes – – – all day, every day – all night, every night? It is sheer terror in its own right, such an absolutely helpless and resigned emotion has crawled into my lap for a while, I guess…

People have said nothing but supportive things to me like,


“Spend as much quality time as you can with her…”,




“Tell her whatever you feel it’s important she knows before it is too late…”


The problem with this wise theory in our circumstance, however, is that she can’t speak anymore because of the gods damned cough; and she can’t hear anything I say to her over the awful fits of coughing, either. I haven’t been able to communicate anything to her on that level so far….they say the treatment will help to shrink the mass and her cough will get better; that she will get some relief from the chemo, gods willing. But in the meantime, it’s been horrendously difficult all the way around.

Yesterday, I became so irritated that almost smoked a cigarette while she was here at my house. She left this morning with my aunt (her sister, who is a yuppie, and barely found time for my mom even when she was still healthy) for chemo. I have been with her at the hospital every day since last Wednesday, and felt like if I went one more time without a break, I would end up being unfair and out-of-line to my poor mom out of the monotonous irritability that has built up. 8 hours at a time of chemo every day is hardcore, I’m told. I apologized to her last night while we ate dinner for being such a snippy bitch yesterday (I almost want to say that I am having mood swings lately, as the snippiness can seem to just appear out of nowhere with me) and I explained to her that it ISN’T her or anything she’s doing…she understood. She understands, she told me with her eyes – she’s been telling me a lot with her eyes lately, a connection I wasn’t even aware that she and I have until the fucked up event of her terminal cancer.



24 thoughts on “Eye-rony.

  1. Simon says:

    Your honesty shines through here and I see how you’re kind of coming to terms with all the issues like the coughing. You know it’s hard on your mum sure, but this will also have an effect on you. My thoughts are with you 😃

  2. You have never been so endearing as this. It is not so much what you say to her or she says to you, it is that you are there, and no matter your differences, some of which have been quite difficult, that you put that aside for now and just be with her.

  3. So much I’d like to say, but words in print can seem trite.
    We are both thinking of you and hope you can find some strength from that. <3

  4. Rita says:

    You are amazing at this, AJ. You are loving her. That’s amazing. Big hug to you.

    The closest I’ve been to this horrific experience you are dealing with as your moms fights for air has been to watch my son in the throes of a grand mal seizure and that is nearly unbearable. My heart is with you, as are my prayers that chemo will ease this.

  5. me says:

    <3 Yes my words seem a little impossible and slightly callous, reading them back … my sincerest apologies friend!!! I guess I was thinking of my sister when i said that, and that is my own regret and fear…rehashed and dished out as well meaning advice!! I’m very sorry xxx
    …. … when my grandfather passed i also didn’t get to ‘say’ what i wanted to because of the timeframe and because of his condition … but like your describing with your eye contact … i had that sort of connection with him then. i told him what he needed to hear … read him his bible, because thats what he loved … and kept eye contact with him when he passed … because thats what he needed. sometimes i don’t think its words … and my grandfather was a man of few words and less physically affectionate than me. but a firm gaze and a head nod gave him more than i could have ever dreamt up in words.
    … my prayers … such as they are, are yours. <3

  6. The love you are showing your Mom is absolutely selfless. Your efforts in such tragedy, your time and sacrifice. That is unconditional love. Any words to exchange could surely not surpass that.

  7. Andy says:

    Frustrating, ain’t it? Affects you too, but you feel like you have to shut the fuck up; clam it all inside cos’ you aren’t getting pumped full of shitty drugs. Well it ain’t so – you can’t keep it inside for the duration of this journey. Waiting until you snap isn’t the solution either. Can you see the middle ground? You can see it right, sure, but it’s fucking hard to find.

  8. Andy says:

    Sorry it’s not a solution. Contact me if you’d like. X