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This time next week I’ll be on a plane to Florida starting the “Celebration of Life” family vacation my mom (demanded) planned for our little clan. See, it’s her wish to give her family, her husband & 4 girls, a great memory to look back on should her illness take a worse turn,,
Last year my mom got sick. & not just a little sick, no. No, she got stage 4 lung cancer sick. She got the “it’s spread to your brain, some organs, & it’s incurable, also it’s in your bones” sick.
Soon after the diagnosis, cancer took my mom’s ability to walk. Wheelchair bound, it’s a good day to see my mom rolling herself around the house, straightening up the place because she can’t stay still a minute. (Well, until she wears herself out & ends up in her trusty recliner the next day & a half.)
My mom is a beach bum. As I consider myself an astral witch, my mama would definitely be a sea witch. (& trust me, I’m working on converting her to the craft…) // She is sand on the shore, a comfort & reliable. She is the coming & going of waves, unpredictable yet always there. She is as stubborn as the tide. & I love her. I hope so much that this Caribbean cruise will be a 7 day moment of bliss for her. For us. For my dad & sisters too.
My dad & the “3 little ones” work hard to keep my mom comfortable. It’s been a adventure, navigating the world of chronic illness between all of us. Taking to doctor’s appointments, visiting at hospitals, picking up medicine. It’s a whirlwind. & I know they all feel trapped uncovered in the heart of a vicious storm. I sure do. My dad suffers his illness; he cooks us dinner each night. My sisters deal with illnesses their own; they clean (begrudgingly) & try their hardest to be caregivers. (Even when it doesn’t come naturally, they try.) It’s a gift in how we’ve been brought together, even if it often causes fights. There’s an underlying knowledge that we’re family. We’re in this together, & we’ll always hope for each other. We’re there for each other. We love each other, through it all.
But, soon “through it all” will be about us sailing through Caribbean sea, enjoying it all. It’s been 11 years of chronic illness & financial stress, with each year growing in intensity. There are about 5 billion or so other people who probably definitely deserve a vacation more than me… but… well… I’m… kinda excited (!)
Wish us luck pushing a wheelchair through the plane & boat & in the room’s tiny bathroom. –But hey, my parent’s got a handicap accessible room. & us kids?? Balcony views;)