My mom is dying. Like, really dying. We just got the news on Friday that she probably has between 3 and 6 months. (Read her thoughts on it here).
I know what you're thinking. Thank God it's not me. Then, what do I say to her? How do I help her?
The usual comforts seem meaningless, but you're not equipped to help me. You're not a registered psychiatrist. Why is she telling me this? What if I say the wrong thing? I can't do this.
Trust me, I get it. Been there, felt that. I've watched friends whose parents have fought the same fight, but lost, sooner than my mom has. And I've had those same thoughts. God, it's so sad. I feel for her/him. But, oh, thank God it's not my mom.
But you can help me. I don't need a lot.
If the sun don't shine on me today
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I couldn't decide which blog to write. So I wrote both. Read one, read the other. Read both, read none. This one's for me.
My mom is dying. Like, really dying.
Yeah. That's happening. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Those words have been running through my mind since I found out that her cancer is no longer responding to treatments; since she decided that she'd rather enjoy the life that she has left rather than spend her time nauseated and worn out from the chemo.
I was home in Virginia this past weekend, for a surprise party we threw her celebrating five years of fighting. When they told us, I didn't cry. I watched my mom, dad, brother and sister break down. I hugged them, held Annie's hand. Cracked a joke, lightened the mood. Told my friends, choked up talking to my boss. But I didn't cry.
I am heartbroken by the violence and discord here in my new home of Charlotte, and across the United States. But saying something feels almost like saying nothing, in a world of too much information and over-communication.
So instead, I'll say this.
I am a bleeding heart. My heart literally hurts thinking of all of the people hurting each other, lashing out in fear and in hatred, in shame and in distress. My heart hurts for the children whose parents won't come home tonight - be they black, white, gold, brown, yellow, green, or orange. My heart hurts for those who will have to pick up the pieces and go on tomorrow. My heart hurts for those who can't go on. My heart hurts for those who must live with the decisions they made and those who must live with the consequences of those decisions.
My heart hurts for my friends who are affected. My heart hurts for those who aren't. My heart hurts for those so desensitized by the violence in this country that they're ignoring this coverage. My heart hurts for those who are blissfully ignorant, for one day they won't be.
My heart hurts for those I can't help. I literally feel uncomfortable in my skin thinking of all of those I can't reach, can't touch; of the fact that there is nothing I can do. I am not an idle person. I am an action person. I'm a problem solver; I'm a comforter of tears and a healer of wounds. I'm the one who feels discomfort when a friend is upset, even if it has nothing to do with me. I want to fix it, to make the pain go away.
How do I help a country in pain? How do I reach those whose ears are deaf, heal those whose wounds are invisible? How can I, one person, make a difference? What can I do, but pray for love and peace? But speak up and post my words for one, two, maybe zero people to read, amongst a flood of information and opinions? But continue to help and try to heal those in pain?
But know this, friends, family, strangers. My heart hurts. But I'm here. And I want to help. So use me. Call on me if you need me. Wake me up in the middle night, reach out even if we don't know each other. Stop me in the hallway to talk. Tell me how to help. Because the first step is to admit there's a problem, but the next is to do something about it. And we have a problem. We've known it for a while. Now it's time to act.