I still remember the call I received that early evening late September 2012. The school semester was young and the seasons were changing- but little did I know it just wasn’t the seasons changing last fall but also the way my family would live was about to change. My family, as a whole, was about to be hit by the new century “black plague” and see life in a completely different perspective.
In the weeks prior my father called me about taking my mother into the hospital because she was complaining about severe pain and was extremely uncomfortable. Nobody knew why she didn’t feel good, she didn’t know why she didn’t feel good- not even after the first day at the hospital did the doctors know why she wasn’t feeling good. When I was told this news, I thought it was a no-brainer, that something was unusually wrong and I mentally prepared myself for the worst scenario. At the same time I remained positive but deep down inside I knew that something wasn’t right; if my mother was just sick with a little bug or a virus or even something else- I still don’t think it would of taking the doctors that long to figure out what was up.
A few weeks later after the first initial call, life goes on and the school semester is starting to go into full swing. Around the same time in the evening as the last call was- I notice I am getting a call from my father. I pick up the phone and conversation is typical; with “how was your day?”, “what are you doing tonight?”, “staying out of trouble?” and the usual “when are you coming home next?” Puppy dog dad always lonely when I’m off at school but this time it was to a new extent. My father kept asking me “when can I come home?’ and when I asked for a reason why he seemed to not be sure exactly why. When I would demand for more information in how my mother was and what the doctors knew, my father didn’t exactly know– following up with another excuse for me to “come home and do yardwork”- that is when I finally told my father, “just tell me what you know about mom! You can’t just call someone up and lead them on like this” and that is what broke the ice to my father exposing the true situation with my mom. It was the horrid truth that none of us wanted to admit, my mom was being held hostage by Stage 4 Colon Cancer. He originally didn’t want to tell me on the phone and wanted to tell me in person along with being in a “home/family environment”- but the tension was too elevated and emotions got the best of us.
Immediately after hearing the dreadful news, my father made plans to come up the next day and have a father and son dinner to talk. We went to a local pub down the street from my school and I still remember having Chicken Parmesan sitting at a little table in the corner of the pub which was lightly dimmed. We talked about life and what the doctors and my dad knew so far- which really wasn’t much at all because test were still being done and it was too early to tell exactly what direction my mom would be going in with her health.
After dinner my father and I cruised through the rolling hills of the Berkshire, it was around late September/Early October, the autumn foliage was blossoming and the sun was setting earlier than before adding colorful complexion of clouds that stretched throughout the sky. From the feelings of late summer to early fall- the seasons change- trees loose their leaves and the sun cycle switches- fall- a time for change…and that is exactly what it was.
Though this time of change came without invitation; doesn’t a majority of change come invited? Reason being because a lot of people aren’t willing to accept change but change can be good even if it’s horrible. My mother falling ill to cancer doesn’t only affect her but also affects the whole family- it is a family disease. Immediately my mother had to change her ways of living from eating to almost everything else; my siblings and I began to become at peace with each other more often and help out a lot more around the house. My father had to really hustle hard and put his part in as a father and a mother because my mother couldn’t put in as much as she use to be able to. I could tell and the stress was at times getting to my dad; he had his own responsibilities on top of taking care of his own children and now his loving wife. Life is hard.
and Life isn’t easy is something I was always told from my parents. I was always told you have to work hard in life and nothing is handed to you. Through all the struggle and hardship my family has gone through over this one year of my mother being sick; we’ve learned a lot about life and that it is indeed good to experience pain and struggle early in life. Those who are young going through life as if life is a “breeze” without any hardships miss out the struggles and hardships in life that make you a stronger being and person; which actually expands and opens your mind to new perspectives and understandings in life. Experiences. Experiences help form a young adult into a full on adult and I have to say before my mother got sick I took life for granted. I realized that my family and I had it good and learned to be more grateful in life and if I really want to dwell and be pathetic I wish at times my family and I didn’t argue as much before my mother got sick. I knew at times I drove my parents and siblings crazy, but doesn’t that happen in every family? Little did we know the summer before my mother got sick, she was in the process of getting sick, and it probably didn’t help the time when my younger brother and I were caught by my mother sneaking out to smoke cigars by the beach. My mother was so upset at us because she thought I was setting a bad example and she was an ex-smoker herself. A month later she is sick with cancer, makes me wonder, if all those years of cigarettes had something to do with her getting sick or added on with other factors. It’s times like that that I wish I didn’t take life for granted and listened to my mother and didn’t do activities that would worry or irritate her…but we live and we learn.
Cancer, it is a family disease. Cancer, it really reveals who in your family will be there for you in the end. Cancer, it can bring together and break apart family. The best way to cope with a love one suffering or struggling with the disease is to always think positive- you have to keep reality in your mindset though- but always be supportive, loving, caring and there for the love ones in need. Along with the support towards the victim of the disease you also have to continue with your daily life and activities. I remember when my mother was newly confirmed with cancer I always felt the need to be by her side; but the best piece of advice my father gave me was to- keep going with your everyday life and responsibilities- still be there for your mother but don’t get caught up and stop everything because there will be a time in which you will really need to be by her side. Hopefully that day is long and far from now and that one day my own mother will see me grow up and have a family.
Like we said in the post before this, “life is what you make it”.