Sunday, May 5, 2013


This is a terrible picture taken at an unflattering angle in horrible light with my mom who is in immense pain--hence the heavy filter--but it's all I've got for now, so. This is how I am brave right now--posting this not kind photo--but that's about it.
There are many awkward-ities when your mom has cancer, such as when the doctor asks about her sex life with me right there, or when I mistakenly sit on one of her nephrostomy bags full of urine. But I never expected it to be so awkward when people ask how she is doing.

How's your mom?

People at work, friends, the guy at the corner store...seemingly innocuous, it comes from everywhere, and I know people mean well. Hell, if your mom was sick right now I would ask how she is doing. Actually, how is your mom?

What's awkward is that brief moment when I weigh the situation: the person asking, how they know my mom, where we are, how tired I am. How do I answer? And so it ranges from she's good, fine, you voice trailing off hoping we can change the subject, to facts about the upcoming internal radiation, how medieval it sounds that they are going to surgically drill up to 24 needles into my mom's cervix and then blast them with radioactive material. No matter the degree of detail, inevitably I get a cocked head from the person who asks, eyes that grow just the teensiest bit bigger, lips pressed thin in sympathy, and then we both kind of nod our heads, like yeah. I know. Yeah. It's not a conversation that flows and certainly not one that can be backed away from gracefully.

Which leaves me with this post that I don't know how to end. Do I want people to stop asking me how my mom is doing? No. Really, please don't. This is happening and no matter where you run into me you can bet I am thinking about it. Just understand that sometimes I don't know how to answer, and that sometimes I just want to--



Cindy * GoodHaus Design said...

I've been wondering, Susannah. According to my friend M who went through a pretty intense bout with breast cancer (she's okay for now, thank God), the only thing worse than people asking, was people NOT asking. What a crappy, unfair thing your family is going through.


Kelli said...


I've been reading/loving your blog since before you had Ozzy. I've wanted to comment a few times, but I usually refrain b/c I don't feel witty enough. This post struck me because I went through the same awkward, exhausting thought process with my Dad during his bout with lung/throat cancer. The amount of information/emotion overload will leave you absolutely drained, but then you'll feel guilty b/c "it's not even me, they're the ones going through it". This is okay, it's going to happen a lot. The only advice I can even pretend to offer is laugh off what you can, and when you can't, just hug them anyway, regardless of how awkward or painful it is. You won't regret it.

Keeping you guys in my thoughts.


SH said...

How are YOU doing?

Susannah said...

Thanks guys. :)

Sarah and Family--I am doing, well, I am having a tough time balancing my full-time job, two young kids and a sick parent along with the rest of life. I feel guilty that I'm not doing enough. Other than that, I am doing ok. Thanks for asking :)

love you all!

Susannah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Molly said...

Seriously, fuck cancer. Really. I've a dear friend losing her fight with breast cancer and I just ... can't. I ask, she gives me the info she can bear to impart or thinks I can bear to hear, I get that look you've described so, so well. It's not enough but it's all we have.
I'm sorry my dear.

Lara said...

I can't even pretend to know what you're going through so I have nothing to offer. Just wanted to let you know that I was here, I read your words, and now I'm thinking of you and your mom. This is all I have, an awkward virtual hug from a stranger.

Petunia Face said...

Oh dear.

If you know me and asked how my mom is doing, please know how much I appreciate your kindness! Swearsies.

I am just awkward, like the Kristin Stewart of people with sick parents.I don't know what to do with my hands. Or my words, apparently.


Nancy Fastenau, Fastenau and Associates said...

Let others take care of you sometimes as well. You can't be there for your Mom when you are tired and stressed out. We all love you very much.

Maggie May said...

I am so sorry.

kacey2004 said...

Pray,pray, works,I know.