I have very few pictures of my mother and me.
This one was taken on Thanksgiving Day 2010.
A lot has changed since the day this was taken. It was a few days less than seven months later that my mother passed away.
That was 18 months ago today.
A year and one week later, I was admitted to the hospital and had surgery to begin my fight with stage IV Carcinoid Cancer/Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs).
So many times I have picked up the phone to call Mom, especially in these last six months. I don’t know that I believe others when they tell me that it gets easier as time continues to tick away.
Sometimes, I wish I could talk with her about all that I am facing, because I feel like she would have some sort of wisdom that was so “Marian,” usually rife with a brand of irreverent humor only she could pull off.
…and then I think how glad I am that she never had to hear that I have this cancer.
One of the last times I saw her, she noted that I’d lost quite a bit of weight since that Thanksgiving visit. It had been about 20 pounds.
About two weeks before she passed away, she made me promise her that I would “take care” of myself and my health. I promised I would.
Had she seen me a year later, I’d dropped another 40 pounds in four months. I’m not sure what she would have said or how she might have reacted if she would have learned of my diagnosis.
As a mother myself, I never want to hear that my daughter has cancer, especially at stage IV.
But as a daughter, I still wish I could hear her voice once again.
* * * * * * * *
I dial her number, and a man with a thick, Hispanic accent answers, “Hello?”
“I’m sorry. I must have dialed the wrong number.”
I hang up, feeling guilty for having lied.
And then I weep.
I miss you, Mom.
(Note: I wrote and delivered this eulogy for my mother’s memorial: Eulogy for my Mother )