Much is taken
This week, my father would have been eighty years old. He always said he didn’t want to live past eighty, which horrified me at the time. I wonder if he’d have felt that way if he had lived until 79. But anyway, he didn’t make to 80. Or to 79. Or to see his grandson, or take his granddaughter to the playground. He has been gone for an awfully long time now. I want to celebrate his milestone birthday with my kids. But how can I celebrate without him?
Well, that was all taken. And what else? COVID has been going on since March. The end of my kids’ preschool and kindergarten was snatched from them. I was particularly sad about preschool because I’d found a really unique preschool that my kids attended for two years–even before COVID I was feeling sad that we had only a few more weeks left. The Wednesday before school closed on Friday, I came down with the flu and couldn’t go. So no chance to say goodbye to all the kids or their parents whom I’d gotten to know, or the teachers I’d trusted my kids with for two years.
My hair has turned gray. I’m not sure when it started, but it has accelerated a lot. I feel old.
My mom had cancer. My dad had cancer.
I don’t have breast cancer.
A few weeks ago I went in for my first mammogram. I figured it’d be fine; just a screening exam. I have no family history of breast cancer, and no real risk factors. Of course it wasn’t. I got called back. There were two findings, one probably nothing and one had a 50% chance of being malignant. Maybe mammograms don’t hurt for some people. Boy did they hurt for me, and they kept hurting for a week.
Anyway I had to go in for a breast biopsy. It was a long and scary week waiting for the biopsy. It was also a long few days until I got the results. I think it was my mom and dad having cancer, and having lost my dad, that made it hard to go through that. In fact, I pretty much lost my mind. Other people seem to face these things calmly; now I know I don’t.
Anyway, I had a benign tumor, and life resumed. I thought I’d be happy after that negative diagnosis, but the fear has taken a while to wear off. I guess this is why some professional societies don’t recommend mammograms at my age. You get screened, you have some benign tumor that probably would have disappeared on its own in a few years anyway, and then you have this awful anxiety-inducing biopsy experience that leaves you with a 14 gauge hole in you.
My husband has a job. A real job. We bought a house. My son turned five and is definitely a boy now, not a baby.
Thanks to COVID I’m not sure my job is secure, but at the moment it does seem to be stable. And really, I’m tired. I’d love to quit for a year and write a novel, or at least some short stories, and poems. It’s strange being in midlife; you really become aware that time is moving quickly and the clock is running down, and you have to make it count. Your older relatives, great uncles and great aunts, begin to die and the younger ones being born don’t really quite make up for that loss. My friend told me his mom, at 90+ was tired of living. I think probably after a while one gets weary of loss. Your parents, your spouse, your friends, maybe your siblings if you live that long.
I’m not there yet. I didn’t want to join my dad yet.
I am grateful for the roses in my garden that I inherited from the previous owner of this house. It is the first time in a long time that I’ve had a garden (including lilies). I didn’t realize how much I missed it.
So that’s where things are. I am OK.