The Importance of Memories


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.



  1. Wavatar says

    Gosh, that is horrible news. It scares me to death how many people are getting cancer these days, regardless of their age or health. And it is definitely one of the scariest things that can happen to you. Luckily, it seems like treatment is getting better and better as we learn more about cancer and deal with it early on. I really hope your mom’s diagnosis will be a hopeful one.

  2. Wavatar says

    Oh no, Caylee. I hate this for you SO MUCH. Just that word–that stupid C-word–is so terrifying, so paralyzing. There’s a genetic mutation on my mom’s side of the family that has resulted in breast or ovarian cancer in so many of my great-aunts–so much so that the mutation has been cataloged and I have the option of being tested to see if I have it. I can’t decide yet if I will. Like you talked about, I don’t want it to change me, but I also dread hearing that horrifying word someday. I will be sending up so many prayers for you and your family, sweet friend, and for all the doctors who will be seeing your mom. If you need anything at all, please let me know. Halfway around the world or not, I’ll do anything I can for you.

  3. Wavatar says

    I’m so sorry, Caylee. I’m one of the few in my family who hasn’t had cancer. I’m a praying person, and I will pray for you all. Hang in there, sweetie! PS. I’m guessing the photo at the top is of you and your mother. She’s a pretty lady!

  4. WavatarJody says

    I’m so sorry to hear this Caylee, I read your blog often but haven’t commented before. I just wanted you to know that I will be thinking of you all and hoping for a positive outcome for your mum. I haven’t been through this personally but one of my closest friends mother is battling terminal lung cancer at the moment and the smallest things become the most positive ones – no further growth on her last scan. if she was stronger they would be able to operate and maybe cure her but its not possible due to other health problems. its been so hard for them all.

    on the turn of the coin though my Auntie has recently had a cancerous growth removed from her nose and after an op to remove the lump she has been given the all clear. she obviously has to go back for checks etc but its all good news and very positive – i hope your mum’s is the same, one simple procedure and its gone!

    I know other many others who have or are surviving this battle, its not easy for any of them but majority of those i know have come through it well and are back healthy again now. There is always hope, just hang in there and remember it whilst making the most of your time together.

    BIG HUGS xoxo Jody xoxo

  5. Wavatar says

    Hi Caylee, that is awful news to get. I have also not commented before but read your blog often. I have not been in your situation but it is something I think about often nonetheless. This must be so scary. I wish you and your family lots of strength!

  6. WavatarTerence Weldon says

    Thanks for the bare facts, and for the powerful writing about the impact.

    I’ve been negligent about keeping in touch, but will write to Mom tomorrow – once I’ve digested and thought about the words.

    My own experience has been just the opposite. I had cancer scare last year (prostate c), and waited forever – nine months – for results, but then they were predictably negative. As with you, my thoughts from the start were that there simply isn’t (too much) cancer in the family – at least, not on the Weldon side, except for granny Weldon’s brother Aubrey, who had some bouts with it late in life.

    And certainly, prayers are on the agenda.

  7. WavatarIsabel says

    Hi, Caylee! I read your blog often but never comment till now. I´m so sorry for your mom and your family. I´m a thyroid pacient for 3 years now and the C word is horrible and scary. I need to make a biopsy to know if my lumps were carcinogenic the waiting is horrible and keep us in constant concern. I have many family that died with the C word is awful and painfull but at the same time the memories are the little things that are important. The only advice that I can give you by experience is that be there for your mom, if she wants to talk listen if not give her hugs and stay beside her because in times like this ones we only need our family and friends and there love to help us fight the battle. I hope and wish you all have good news on monday I gona pray and send you much love.

  8. Wavatar says

    So sorry to hear this. Wish there was something I could do to help.
    There are no words to comfort you that haven’t already been said.
    Will be praying for you and your family.
    much loves.