It has always been a big goal of mine to digitise my paper memories. At my parents house in January, my mom mentioned how badly she wanted to digitise everything for fear of losing it. She’d buy the scanner and I’d make all of those memories digital for her. It was a win-win-win situation.
As incredibly enthusiastic as I was about this project, I’ve let it become stagnant. And then on Friday we found out that my mom has cancer. Like. That big C word. We are all still so shocked and as I type that word I can taste a swear word, bitter in my mouth. I feel like I don’t fully comprehend its meaning, but I know it’s bigger than I am. My mom is in her forties and we have absolutely zero history of any form of cancer. There was a little lump in a regular GP checkup and we thought the doctor was being over the top by sending her for a biopsy. We had to wait two days for the results, but they made us wait three. We didn’t mind waiting, since we knew they’d just apologise for wasting her time, you know ? And when they phoned my mom, she was so shocked she didn’t hear the rest of the call. When my dad phoned me, I didn’t hear anything after that dirty word either. We have heart disease, asthma, and allergies in our family. We do not have cancer. This is not something we’d ever thought that we’d have to think about. While we were waiting for the results I asked myself what I’d do if the biopsy came back with bad news. I laughed at my ridiculousness. And now I wonder if my shock is going to be bad for the next set of news on Monday.
I phoned each member of my family, and there was no crying. We have no words and we have no feeling. I cried last night, although I’m still not sure what I’m crying about. Maybe I feel like I should be crying ? Should I be worrying ? I feel like there should have been some form of cancer school. That there is a certain type of etiquette for this that I am just not getting. Fuck. I am so unsure of what to feel that I feel like I’m hiding what I really want to feel. I’m worrying about worrying. I fell asleep crying last night. Not because of sadness or fear, but because of this confusion. I’m scared of finding out what kind of person this will make me. Will this make me the type of person who believes we can breathe in goodness, and heal with our thoughts ? Should I worry about what will come and prepare myself for the worst ? I see-saw between these two personalities. And then I feel guilty for acting like everything is fine, or acting like everything is far worse than it is.
This morning I refused to be alone with my feelings again. I poured as much energy as I could into scanning those photos. I’m treasuring every single pixel of memories. I don’t know what kind of person cancer is going to turn me into, but I know that I am going to be damn present for every minute of it. I’m not stopping Project Life or crafting. I’m not going to withdraw from my friends. Big things in life tend to break me, and I refuse to let this do that. I am going to suck every lesson it will teach me, and every opportunity it gives me to love my mom. I’m hopeful for a good outcome, that it will be small and detected early, but I am prepared to beat the shit out of it too. That is what I know.
Carson had a great quote on the Downton Abbey episode I watched yesterday: “The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end that’s all there is”. It spoke to me. I am so thankful that I have saved as many captured moments as possible. I am so grateful to my mom for saving so many of hers and sharing them with me. I’m going to look after them for her.
I’d appreciate it if you prayed for my mom and my dad. We hope to receive more information on Monday; good news that will allow us to act quickly and get this behind us. I won’t reply to any comments because I feel like I’ve opened myself up a lot already, but I would appreciate a personal email, especially if you can tell me if this confusion is normal, or have any advice.