Immersion Project – Part 2

12 Aug

So earlier this week, I talked about the beginning of my mom’s illness.

Where did we leave off? Oh yes, end of senior year. Mom was sick and on top of it all, had to have a hysteroctomy. I was scared, nervous, and felt utterly lost.

But you know what? She had the surgery and THEY STILL CAME! She and my dad were able to make it to my graduation and she had more energy than me, my dad, aunt, uncle, and the Seven Year Man combined! She was too excited.

After college, I secured a job and was going to start the second week of July. I wanted to go to Spain for a week with a girlfriend of mine. Mom put her foot down and said I had to come home for a bit. So I did. I packed up my stuff, said I would come down to the Sunny South for a couple of weeks, drive my car back up, and spend a couple of weeks bumming around Beantown before I started my job.

But I took some additional time down there that I wasn’t planning on taking. Mom had finished chemo and was going to start radiation and I took her to her first couple of appointments. So what I thought was going to be two weeks turned into five. And then my dad drove back to Beantown with me just a few days before my 22nd birthday and the start of my new job.

Mom got better and stronger and returned to work that September.

She was happy, elated, and beyond excited to get back to work (like mother, like daughter.)

And the next year when her birthday fell on Father’s Day weekend, I decided to fly down and surprise them. But I was the one that got surprised.

The tumors came back. Mom and Dad told me that they were going to schedule an operation in August. I told them I’d fly down and be there for as long as I could. For once, they didn’t argue with me.

And I made good on my word. Mom was supposed to be in surgery for four – five hours. We took her to the hospital, checked her in, and sat ourselves in the waiting room for what we were sure was going to be several hours of waiting. Several hours turned into two. It’s never good when a surgery is cut short. It means something is wrong. Something went wrong. Something isn’t right.

The tumor that was supposed to be removed in a special O.R. where they were going to do radiation right there on her, was worse. Much, much worse. There were spores everywhere. They couldn’t contain it. My dad and I were in shock.

He went to see her when he was allowed to. I stayed outside on my cell phone and cried to the Seven Year Man. He was good to me and tried to calm me down. Tried. He’s a good man, but there isn’t much you can say to a hysterical girl who knows what is inevitably going to happen.

I’ll spare the details of the rest of that trip and the subsequent holiday season and skip ahead to the following January. I don’t think I need to say anything other than it wasn’t the happiest time in our lives. It was probably one of the saddest. It was a lot of time spent at the Hospital and doctor visits and meds. And it was a time when I looked at her and my heart ached and wondered how my dad did it. How was she able to mentally handle it? How was he emotionally able to cope? It was a lot of “how’s” and “why’s” and ‘it’s not f—ing fair!”

January 7, 2002 marked the one year anniversary of my uncle’s passing. All day long, I tried reaching my aunt, my cousins, and my mom and dad. To some success. I couldn’t find my parents. Late that night, I FINALLY spoke with Pops.  Mom was sick again and because the County had just switched insurance companies, he was fighting to get her into a hospital. Mainly b/c she didn’t want to go. But also b/c insurance companies are nasty, nasty beasts sometimes.  But he did get her accepted and when we finally talked, Pops told me she was asleep in her hospital.

“Should I call her dad or wait until the morning to check on her? I don’t want to wake her.” (a.k.a the coward’s way of dealing with something.)

“It’s OK Pooh, call her in the morning. I’m sure she’ll want to talk then.”


It was the first snowfall that year.  Started after midnight on the 8th – and it was only about two inches. Once the snow stopped, my roommate and the Seven Year Man drove me to the airport.  I received a call at 2 A.M. I had a plane to catch. And a funeral to plan.


11 Responses to “Immersion Project – Part 2”

  1. jolene1079 August 12, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    Wow, friend, this is one of your most honest, real, and heartbreaking posts. I have a lump in my throat and had to force myself not to cry reading this. You are your mother’s daughter, through and through (even though I never got the chance to meet her), I can just tell. She’d be so proud. XO.

  2. Jess August 12, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    Babe. This is incredible – incredibly hard to read, but also incredibly amazing to read. I have known you for how long and this is the first I’m hearing this story in its entirety – and my heart aches for you, even now. Even now that time has passed and you’ve had time to heal and can reflect on all of this and on what it’s meant to you and for you. I cannot even fathom, and dare not try to. You are amazing. xo

  3. Miss Over Thinker August 12, 2010 at 11:04 am #

    I couldn’t stop crying as I was reading this post… you took me back with you all these years ago – I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you and your dad.. it’s a tremendous loss and am so sorry that you had to go through it.. and I agree with Jolene, your mom would be so proud you..

  4. Akirah August 12, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    I can’t help but cry either. Thank you for writing this. That took a lot of courage.

  5. TisWID August 12, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    Thanks ladies. Not much more I can say or comment on re: this post. It was difficult to write – and even though its been years, I still tear up thinking about it. There are so many more intricacies to the story. The flight down to the Sunny South, the memorial her school put on, the funeral, and unveiling one year later (Jewish tradition.) Although I’ve moved on with my life and learned to lead a positive one without her physcially here, I know she is always with me and Pops. And one good thing – Pops and I are so much closer than we ever were before. Gotta look at the positive when life takes you down this path.


  6. Sara August 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    Oh, Mel. I’m so sorry I didn’t know more about all of this when you were going through it and that I wasn’t there for you. You are so wonderfully strong, beautiful and smart, and I love you so very much!

    How do you feel now that you wrote all of that? Did it do anything, change anything, for you?

  7. IntrigueMe August 12, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    Obviously it was a long time ago now, but I’m still very sorry to hear about your Mom. I didn’t know that about you, and I’m glad I do now! It’s tough losing someone close to us.

  8. Shannon August 13, 2010 at 1:14 am #

    I didn’t know about any of this. I am so sorry. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to write, I cried through it. But you did well, beautifully written. I have the same question as Sara, how do you feel after writing that?

    • TisWID August 13, 2010 at 9:09 am #

      I didn’t respond to Sara right away, b/c I wasn’t quite sure how to answer it. How do I feel? It’s kind of a complex question. B/c it’s not something I ever really talk about (clearly), I wasn’t sure how I would feel once this opportunity to discuss presented itself. I don’t necessary feel lighter or better. But I was one person (a happy-go-lucky person for the first 23 years of my life) before my mom passed and then something switched once it happened. I turned to a more mature, responsible, “life is tougher than you know” kind of person. While I’ve grown and am proud of my accomplishments over the last 8+ years, I miss the happy go lucky, “life is wonderful” girl. Writing these blogs – along with the Stratejoy course – is taking me back to that person I was in my very early 20s. And I think I’m finding that happy medium between then and now. Long winded answer, but did you expect anything else from me? 😉

  9. Deanna Leigh August 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    You are sooo brave for sharing this with all of us. Thank you for opening up your heart and soul to all of us who love you from afar.

  10. imerika August 13, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    I know it’s been a long time, and words can’t ever really heal any of the pain, but I admire you for being able to write about this. I can’t imagine having to go through something like that at such a young age. Big hugs to you.

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