Think of how fast a year can pass. A flip of a page, the flapping of migratory birds, the relentless return of liquor-soaked annual traditions, punctuated by “I can’t believe its been a year!”
And yes, a year can also be so full of heartbreak it draws out into eternity.
They say the first anniversaries after a loss are the worst (I’m not sure who “they” is, but they are always wise and insightful). The anniversary today is of my mom’s CT scan.
Tests are just tests. They are often wrong. They are often misleading. They don’t dictate who lives and who dies. They simply provide information, which sometimes doesn’t even matter. But this particular CT scan gave information that really did matter– it told the story of a drug resistant lymphoma. If you are unfortunate enough to develop cancer, your best hope is you have a cancer that responds well to treatment, and my mom lost on that roll of the dice. In fact, she ended up on bad side of the odds at every turn in her cancer journey. Patients aren’t often told “you have an 80 percent chance of cure!” at diagnosis and are dead the next calender year.
The February CT scan results were the turning point where it became apparent that she, in short, was screwed. It would have been better not to know, but I knew.
In the following months, I wish I had laughed more, had more fun with her, falsely comforted by a belief that everything would be okay, because it HAD to be. Instead, I was bottled up with fear, the unfortunate daughter with too much medical knowlege.
Many people have told me that my experience in cancer care helped my mom so much, and I know at certain junctions it did. However it also hurt me, and maybe her as well. Hope is so important, and one year ago I lost it.