Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Four Little Words

She was calling my cellphone. She never calls my cellphone.
I mean ... we talk all the time.
But we're not talkers. We're communicators.
We swap emails rapid fire.
Me, the techy, from any device. Her, sitting at the antique dining room table, MacBook open, coffee nearby. I send photos of her granddaughter, the dog, my travels. We swap recipes, gossip, Pinterest plans, Pinterest fails. We like words and typography and quotes and Channing Tatum and Ellen and we communicate a lot.

She was calling my cellphone.
After a week of silence from Base Camp Mama, my body got tingly.
Hello? I ventured?
How's my girl today?
Good, I further ventured. How are you?
Not great. I have cancer.

The blood rushed to my ears and I couldn't hear what she was saying.
Who? Who has cancer?
When I finally heard her, I stood up and took four steps before my legs gave out and I slid to the floor. Oh, it sounds dramatic. And it was. But there is a certain grace to handling news like that and having that be the honest to God reaction. In a way, that's what reactions should be. We shouldn't
have to condition ourselves for when it's our turn. We shouldn't alter the way in which we live to accept the inevitability of life. We should always be so fortunate to fall on the goddamn floor when we hear what we don't want to.

My Mom Has Cancer, I said to the Dad as he collapsed with me onto the floor.
I stopped wailing and dried my cheeks.
Okay, what next? I asked her, and we got right down to communicating the way we know how.
I swore a lot- I mean, I don't usually drop eff bombs in front of my own Mama, but there's plenty more where that came from. I already know that.
And she pretended not to hear me.

The first few times I said those four little words out loud, I could hardly enunciate. Each time since, it has gotten better. I won't say easier, because it will never be easier. I can now communicate without
the threat of hot tears or stomach-dropping fear taken over my nervous system.

My immediate concern was my daughter. At that very moment, she was in the shower singing Frozen at the top of her lungs, using nearly my entire bottle of $26 Philosophy Coconut Icing shower gel to
her heart's content. Blissfully unaware of what was happening down the hall. Timing is everything and we caught a break there. There, in that very instant, I was stuck in the middle- Mother, Child. Even Granddaughter as my thoughts stretched to my Grandma. Her baby has cancer.

We're taking it day by day because that's manageable.
Her surgery was successful and her pain is in control.
She's stage 2 and I hate that she has a stage, but that's how cancer rolls.

I am not sure what was worse- talking to my Grandma or Kid Rock.

My Grandma pleaded with The Lord- take her, she said. I am ready to die.
Hold the eff on here people. No one is going to die for eff's sake.
Kid Rock, my mighty kindergartener, just wanted to know what color her guts were they removed, (sic) and if she had staples or stitches. Ummmm, great questions baby girl.

I have read 37 magazines in the past three days. I read an article on TV host Robin Roberts and her new book called 'Everyone Has Something' and I think that's our theme here because it's true. It's a matter of how we respond and soldier.

And in our world that's with lots of hope, even more coffee, and a shocking amount of swear words.

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