This isn’t working out how I planned. A lot of things don’t in life, and that’s okay, but this Mother’s Day in particular is misbehaving. My husband accidentally afflicted me with a flu this week, the kind that leveled me for three days and had me sweating out more than I could drink. It was unpleasant but I lived, as I knew I would. It’s not the flu that has down, though. It’s the fact that the lingering traces of flu in my system mean I can’t go see my mother on Mother’s Day. Chemotherapy kills the immune system, don’t you know. So the one Mother’s Day I feel REALLY COMPELLED to go see Mum, I can’t. Because Fuck You Immune System and Fuck You Flu.
It’s disheartening, I won’t lie. Mom understands. In fact, she was the one that told me I had to stay away until I feel better. I’d never put her in a compromising position, but I have this strange guilt over something I can’t control. I sent her a gift, and I will see her next week, but it feels inadequate. I want to do more and I’m sort of stuck not doing anything at all.
That’s the funny thing about cancer, I’m realizing. Mom’s prognosis is looking good, all signs point to a recovery, we are blessed in that regard. But goddamn, just watching how the chemical treatments tear at the strongest people make you feel so hopeless and . . . dumb. Seriously dumb. Like you should be doing more but what the hell can you do? You can offer to come, you can help, you can love, you can support, but you can’t take the really shitty side effects away. You can’t offer to take some of the pain and misery. You can only say you understand, that it’ll be better soon, that you believe in the patient. That you won’t come over when you’re carrying Ebola in your system.
Mom knows all that stuff. She knows I’d eat her enemies if she asked. She knows I’ll be there when she needs me. But still, feeling crummy. Because Mother’s Day and I’m holed up with a pile of germs.
So do me a favor. All of y’all with mums or Mom figures that you love? Give them an extra hug because I can’t hug my mom this year and it’s bugging me something fierce. And I know I’m lucky. There will be other years to hug Mum, and I plan on doing it next year and the year after that and for many moons going forward. But I can’t this weekend and it makes me sad. I’m depending on a lot of other people to take up my slack. Appreciate the ladies who make our lives better–past and present. Stop sweating the small stuff stuff so you can appreciate the small stuff. Like the simple beauty of hugging your mom–a mom, anybody’s mom–on Mom’s special day.