Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Space Oddity

I feel like a 15-piece puzzle lately. You know? Those flat metal toys with the tiles that you slide around to mix up the picture? Only I cannot figure out how to make my picture whole again, how to get back to being right so I am sliding faster and faster, trying to figure out fuck, how am I supposed to do this?

I am hardly the first person with a parent with cancer, and I don't want this to turn into The Adult Child of a Parent with Cancer Blog, though I will cop to this: when I wanted Bryan to bring up the laundry from the basement for me I said pretty please, my mom has cancer. And then the other day I called him while he was driving home to ask if he could please get me a smoothie, I really wanted a smoothie, my mom has cancer and I love you.

Equal parts dark humor and terrible person with a side of absurd.

I get it from my mother.* Ten+ years ago she had a heart attack and had to have an angioplasty. She was all doped up for the surgery when she grabbed my arm to hurriedly tell me that she wanted me to play David Bowie at her funeral, then she sang as they wheeled her away...

This is major Tom to ground control, I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
Here am I sitting in a tin can far above the world
Planet Earth is blue and there's nothing I can do...

There is something so hauntingly lonely about that song. And that is what I can't stand most of all. The fact that my mom is scared and lonely. And that there is nothing I can do.

Nothing but slide the stupid tiles to try to make things make sense again, to make the picture whole. Which brings me to this: did you hear about the photo left on the moon?

In 1972, Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke took his third and final trip to the moon. While there he left behind a portrait of his family. The photo shows him, his wife Dorothy, and two sons Thomas and Charles posing on what looks like a park bench. And for over 40 years now, that photo (and corresponding boot print) has remained in the same exact spot. In a way, Duke not only took his family to the moon, they never left.
I find this oddly reassuring--beautiful, even--though I can't for the life of me figure out why.


*And my father. But this is a post about my mom. So.


Karen, BC said...

Beautiful. As always.
And it's the dark humour that will get you through the tough times.
Keep sliding. X

Zakary said...

Damn. Just dammit all to hell.

(The photo is killing me)

Anonymous said...

Dark humor will help you laugh even though there is nothing to laugh about. Also, kids will help you survive because you still have to be there for them and do and say and be kid things. Dying sucks. My grandmother died in 2009, she was old, it was "expected". My father died from blood cancer in 2010, he was older and suffered for about a year before he died, we weren't very close but still he's my dad. Then my younger 34 year old sister died in 2011 from a brain aneurysm. Out of the blue bam. My 6 year old son has kept me surviving. It is really quite amazing how much we can take. Unbelievable unfathomable really. Until it happens to you. Sending light and love to you and your family.

inthisandmysisterlife said...

She's so lucky to have a strong, witty daughter and amazing granddkids to help her now.

Anonymous said...

You are an incredibly talented writer I am so jealous! & I am sorry to hear what you're going through. xo

Ann Alexandria said...

I just wanted to say hello, having just found your blog from GOMI (you are a SOMI there...stay on my internet). I've been reading through your archives and really enjoying it. You're a great writer and you have one cute little guy! I'm sorry to hear about your mom...I've been dealing with cancer for a few years now, lost my sister to it, it sucks, no way around it. I found several online forums that were very helpful, especially the forums at the American Cancer Society's website. I believe that they have one specifically for family members of cancer patients. Take care~Ann

Petunia Face said...

Thank you all. Your comments make such a difference.

And Ann Alexandria--I love GOMI (live in fear of it, but love it, too). Didn't realize I was on there. Happy to know it's for a SOMI :)

Adriene said...

There is nothing that knocks you off your axis like having a parent with cancer. Nothing. Scream, holler and LOVE. Thats all you can do. Live where you're standing. cancer is the biggest bitch ever!

Never That Easy said...

You just have to keep sliding the pieces, keep using the humor you have, keep feeling whatever feelings come up (as if you have a choice) and just keep... doing. I know it's hard. Hold on, though. Thinking of you.