Aftermath: Dealing With Mom’s Cancer

Mom and me, Spring 2011

I wanted to write an entry all about our family’s experience with my mom’s breast cancer. I wanted to write something positive and hopeful. And I find that it’s just too painful to dive into right now. Nothing bad has happened – no need to worry – I’m just not ready to deal with it.

I don’t think that’s ever happened before. That I wasn’t willing to dive into an emotional place and figure things out. I guess that’s the difference between grief and fear. I’ve dealt with grief before, but there… the worst has happened. There’s no anticipation or uncertainty. With fear… it’s all in front of you. It hasn’t happened yet. It may not happen. But you don’t know.

When I was a kid I had this nightmare of being at my mom’s funeral. I woke up crying, and my mom was there and holding me and I was still terrified. I don’t know if I ever told her what the dream was.

Dad once told her that, in a disaster, if he had to choose between saving the kids and saving her, he knew he would have to save us and not her, even though he’d want to save her. Because she would never forgive him if he didn’t protect us.

She’s the heart of his life. The heart of our family. And in some ways she is so very fragile. She’s had a hell of a life, and I wish I could protect her. Actually, I wish I could go back in time to when she was a kid and protect her. I’ve always wished that, so I guess I always knew, on some level, that she’d been badly hurt when she was a child.

I remember when I was a kid her being sick, at home, on an IV and throwing up every 20 minutes. Rocking back and forth in bed and crying. And I would pet her hair and pretend I was her mother and try to make her feel better. And wish I could time travel.

My mom is the heart of my life. And I realize she probably shouldn’t be. It’s like that line from Cordelia in King Lear, about how it’s inappropriate to love your parent all, more than anything else in the world.

You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty:
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.

I told Jason, when we got back from LA after finding out she had cancer, that my mother was the person I loved most in the world. It’s true. And it’s terrifying. Because I know some day I will lose her. And I’m pretty sure Jason didn’t like hearing all of that, either.





6 Responses

  1. We’re all here with you, Diana. Still praying for your mom, and now you as well. Please keep us posted and take care!

    Your Twitter friend,


  2. I wrestled with the “whom do I love more” thing for a long time. I came to the conclusion that I can love more than one person best of all; the difference comes in how much time someone has been an immediate part of my life. Losing my Dad was crushing; losing Brian *right now* would also be crushing, but I also know that it wouldn’t be as “bad” as losing my Dad was simply because there was a period of time when I wasn’t with Brian. Dad was ALWAYS there. So, for me, it’s not a matter of whom I love more. Does that make sense?

  3. Dear Diana ,
    I’m praying for your mom and for your family , sending lots of light and love your way .
    I know exactly how you feel since I’m going through the same with my mom , and all the fears that you had are the same as mine …my mom is my everything and I wish I could save her too …

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