November 11, 2008

Sandwich woman: Spread between cancers

Cancer now links my daughter and my father. I am equally helpless with both. Jelly.

I watch my daughter joking, hearing between the words the fear of the unknown.

I watch her face as she shares an update on my father that comes through my brother indirectly as he warns us to no longer consider a hospital recommended the week before. Now, my brother is unsatisfied with the care given my dad as he lets it slip that there is no feeling below the arms, that he expects The Call any day.

I think of the last conversation with my dad, the day I had to tell him what my daughter had. I heard his voice, and wish I had not. I wish I could have held forever the memory of what his voice was, not what it is. He spoke for a long time and I could feel love and fear, even as it was impossible to decipher the actual words.

I am not the perfect daughter. Not even the good daughter. I thought there would be more time, that first I had to be strong. And then, when I was ready to hear more stories, ready to make more decisions, I had to leave again. We are good at postponing, it is our tradition.

News of test results slip into conversations between my daughter and nurses or receptionists. But, then, as if they realize what was just revealed they stop reeling off the results and say the doctor will explain all of this on Thursday. Thursday can't come fast enough. Thursday should never come.

We talk of hoping that her hair will grow back curly, of a friend's offer to turn her mane into a wig, the weirdness of where hair grows and where it doesn't.

I listen. I worry. I collect information, I help where I can, I answer the emails and phone calls. I debate - how much truth can she hold now and what is the truth.

For years, it has been my father and my daughter who have visited me at the hospitals, who offered their own brands of humor and caring to nurse me through challenges.

It is hard to believe that now I am to be the strong one, the filling between the two generations stung by cancer.

November 10, 2008

Fill my ceiling with Twitter, more

I watch the world waken as Twitters slide into my account. Sometimes another screen holds Facebook statuses. Pump in Friendfeed and RSS

On days like today, when only my mind escapes the concrete truck's dump, I so need that reach of humanity. Even when the mushiness of my mind prevents timely responses, I want to read the echos of the world

Make me laugh. Make me think. Make me smile.

Above me lies - again - a boring white ceiling. Imagine the Twitters, the statuses, the feeds floating across in ink-jet perfection. 72 point? Or larger?

This distraction that could render useless the need for yet another numbing pill on days when holding the iPhone hurts as much as carrying your world.

But like the old man who remembers his roof leaks only when it is raining, these ideas of constructive distraction come only when I am incapable of implementing. Unlike the old man in the fiddle performance, the conversation is one sided. The only sound comes from the iPhone - until the battery dies or someone who can move comes home.

I watch from afar as the world starts to sleep, imprisoned by playing a normal person yesterday.

November 9, 2008

The past creates shadows on today

I am breaking a lot of self-imposed rules, ironically while reading others who write about online friendships.

I am writing on the iPhone (makes it hard to cite URLs) but last night as I reviewed another day of firsts, I started thinking about some posts that have caught my brain. There was Louis Gray, who reminded how sometimes we can help our virtual friends in the real world with a gesture as simple as using PayPal to pay a bill for someone in need. Kate Carruthers
wrote about this need we have to know who are friend and who are foe.

I remember jumping yesterday, sharing everything about my server in the hopes a problem could be solved while I shivered my way through a night of badly needed sleep. I could hear my grandfather shouting, reminding me not to trust anyone, not even my own mother. Yet, I gave everything - more then was needed - because I was so tired of wrestling with permissions, passwords, scripts, etc.

I just surrender. My favorite books, notes and even techies are nine hours away. I am too fragile today to open my email, to check the server, to see if what was promised was done and that all is right in the world.

I want to believe .... at least for awhile longer. Friend or foe? Why can't I believe what I know from the eyes and the heart?

My grandmother probably turned over in her grave, too, as she watched me create a fake Alfredo sauce from cream cheese and other surprises. I cry later over the dinner too. I am finally cooking - but not in the place I so much want to be right now. I cry because I can't cuddle. I cry because I am cold.

I just cry. That makes me mad because big girls don't cry. Mothers don't cry. I don't cry.

I jokingly say I hope a recommended book has a chapter on how to stop all the crying. The emailed reply explains "The tears were there, crying releases them."

I carry the thought today as I visit Big Lots for the first time, demand (nicely) a printed newspaper and tell my credit card company that it is me making these out of character purchases in multiple states and yes, online, too

My daughter and I look for a college course, try on marked-down Halloween wigs, make plans for the years down the road, and ...

And I wait until I close the door on the game room turned bedroom to cry once more, wanting to believe I trusted, trust the right people, the right things, the right doctors, the right words, the right everything.

The fears are there; crying sometimes releases them.

The past is here with the people who preached and the choices I made. The new movements release the unnecessary to allow survival.

And I cry.

Updated 5/13/09 with links and fixes like . verb tenses and spelling.