Have you ever had a Britney moment? I mean all the way. Shaved head, umbrella attacks, pink wigs, British accent (not you Sniffy, you’re allowed to talk like that). I can now say, in all honesty, that I have. I’ve lost it, lost my shit entirely and I’m back to tell the tale.
Some people toss their manuscripts in the fire, others break every dish in the house. Me? I deleted my entire web presence. An entire year of my life, gone with a few clicks. I was bargaining. Maybe you remember my mom was sick. Well she was very sick. Cancer sick. If you ask a doctor what someone’s prognosis is and they say ‘Well … tell me what YOU know’, that’s a bad sign.
So I was bargaining. Look what I’m giving up, look what I’m throwing away? Just let her be okay. I’ll focus all my positive energy, all my strength, on her and she’ll get better. Of course she’ll get better, because the only other option is unthinkable.
After I’d gone on my mayjah-killing spree, I cried for a week straight. I don’t mean a little trickly tear running down your cheek, I’m talking racking sobs, pull the car over and weep uncontrollably crying. I was sad about my mother of course, but I was also horrified at what I’d done. I don’t know what to call this internet community/web presence thing that we have here, but trying to walk away entirely, however briefly, was a really bad plan. I’d get up in the morning, ‘gotta go check my T-FUUUUUUUCCCCKKKKK’.
Here’s a little tip: if you ever go off the deep end, don’t delete things! I know, really wild concept, right? With the exception of Twitter, if you delete it, it’s gone. Delete you’re Flickr? It’s gone. Tumblr? Yep, totally gone. Thank God Twitter lets you come to your senses. All my friends. How could I ever find all my friends again? I’m getting a rash just thinking about it.
So I made my deal with the devil (who is a total fucker, BTW) and turned all my attention to my mother. At first, they told me ‘she has 3 months to live.’ A week later, the 3 months had disintegrated into 3 weeks. A week after that, she was gone. I could tell you by rote all the things that happened, in sequence. I’ve told so many friends and family and associates and strangers that it’s like the Pledge of Allegiance. And I like it that way, because I don’t have to mentally GO there, I’m not reliving those 3 weeks, I’m just ticking things off a list. She had cancer, the cancer was stage 4, it was aggressive, it spread to her lungs and her liver and her bowel. The end.
It was all so fast and so loud and I was running to catch up with it, until I was standing in a hospital room with my mother’s body, and then it all got very quiet. I’ve never been in a room with a dead person before. I didn’t think I could bear it, but in the end, I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I stayed with her for hours. She was so beautiful. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but trust me, she was. The peace on her face and all the worrying and stress was gone and I could finally see - aha, my mom! That’s her! There she is again, I haven’t seen her look like that in years but there she is. God she’s gorgeous, look at her! I wanted to take a picture.
I tried to come to grips with the fact that THIS WAS IT. I wasn’t ever going to see her ever again. She had wanted to be cremated. I wasn’t ever going to get to look at her serious profile ever, ever, ever again. This was the last time. I got out a nail clipper and took a lock of her hair. It seems creepy now, but it didn’t seem that way at the time. I couldn’t go. I’d steel myself to leave, stand up, grab my things, go to hug her one last time and break down all over again. The hugs were the strangest. She had just passed, within 30 minutes of me getting there, so she wasn’t cold. I’d hug her and even though she wasn’t hugging me back, they felt like the biggest, best hugs. Oh mom, how am I going to go my whole entire rest of my life without any more of these hugs? It was incomprehensible that this was the last time I’d ever share a physical space with her ever again. Inconceivable. So I’d stay another 30 minutes, which would turn into another hour.
The hugs felt so whole, even though I was the only one doing the hugging. I’d hug her again to try to solve this riddle but I never did figure it out. As far as I can tell, when someone alive hugs you, sometimes they are holding back; I know my mom was. ‘I’m too fat, I’m too old’, my mom had a lot of ‘I’m too’s’ (I apologize for any gross grammatical errors right there) but she was just all mom now, no holds barred. So the hugs were amazingly gratifying. I still don’t understand how.
I always felt bad for people whose parents had died, but I had no idea how awful it was. And that was a blessing. If you don’t know this feeling yet, consider it a blessing. And please tell someone you love how much they mean to you. I’m glad I got to tell my mom that before she left.
And now I am just finally beginning to be able to laugh again, and turn my mind back to good things. I’m trying to purge my memory of the 3 weeks and the hospitals and the tubes and the pain and remember my mom the way she really was. The way she really is.
So if I caused butt-hurt, or worry, or grief, I’m terribly sorry. Please forgive me. I’ve learned my lesson and I promise that if I ever go batshit crazy again, I’ll bring all of you along for the ride. It’ll make an awesome podcast.