I’ve wanted to write a article for quite some time now, and no matter how much I wanted to, I always found myself backing away and never really considered why. I mean it’s only a journal entry, a story, or a letter you know, how much could it hurt? And now after a very rough month spent facing reality, I realized it was much deeper than writing a journal about my challenge, it was actually dealing with the fact that I have one.
My mom, Jacinta Rideout, died of lung cancer two years, two months, and 16 days ago. I could probably figure out the hours and minutes, too. Funny how time has become so important, every minute brings me one more moment away from when my mom was alive, and one more moment closer to my last days and finally seeing her again (Don’t worry I’m not in a rush to leave anytime soon).
My immediate thoughts after she died were “It’s Okay, I accept this, she’s in a better place now, I’ll be fine.” But I now realize that accepting it and dealing with it are two totally different things. I never realized how hard dealing with it actually was and how important it is. You never actually get over it and no one should expect you to; it will affect the rest of your life, its just dealing with living with it, because it never leaves your mind.
I watched a movie a couple weeks ago, and in it one of the girls mothers had died, not of cancer, but she said, “I just feel like if I’m always happy and I never stop then it’ll be like it never happened and everything will stay the same.” When I heard that line I realized that’s what I’ve been doing. I thought if I just keep on smiling and laughing and if I just keep taking care of everyone then no one will notice that I don’t have a mother anymore, and then maybe I wont have to notice that she’s gone, and then I wont have to deal with how hard it was when she was sick, and even worse how hard it is now that she’s gone.
Everyone always commented on how strong I was, and how I got that from Mom. So then my mind told me, well if your like her and your strong like her everyday, maybe it wont feel like she’s gone. But in the end, she is, and I had to deal with that.
I spent two weeks in bed, besides going to work. I didn’t enjoy going out. I didn’t even feel like I fit in with my friends when I did hang out because for once I sat there sad as hell and angry at the world while they all sat there having fun and worrying about whether or not they would find something interesting to do that night. I sat there wishing that’s what I could worry about to because I couldn’t fake being happy anymore. After a while, my best friends starting getting frustrated and didn’t understanding why I was sleeping so much and doing very little interaction. When they finally asked I think I blew them away. No one ever thought I would break down and no one really understood that it was bound to happen.
I’m doing good this week, feeling truly happy that I got my emotions out. I moved away a while ago, and when I came back I tried to convince everyone else–but mainly myself–that I had finally dealt with it because I think I knew all along I wasn’t dealing at all and never did.
After reading a book called Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelmon, I now realize you never get over it. She expressed its like a cycle, like the grief cycle, just never ending. Shock-Denial-Anger-Mourning-Recovery. You go through them, and then you may go a week or two, and then something happens that makes you think about it, and then it starts all over again.
I didn’t realize how much my mother’s death affected everything I do. I don’t even think the same anymore. One part of the book expresses how you think of death more, you always think something bad will happen. I can’t even drive through and intersection without thinking, “Wow a car could come hit me and I could die.” It’s sad, but it’s the effect this challenge has had on me. I feel I have to take care of everyone, when I need to learn how to take care of myself. I’m not my mother, being her won’t bring her back, and it won’t make life easier. I’m just a great reminder of what once was.
I never, ever, EVER, told anyone how I felt. Except for maybe desperate plea emails to Geoff, who I want to thank, because he pushed me to open up and talk about it. I know this was a long piece, but I want to express how important it is to open up, and talk to others, or read about others who have gone what you went through so you know what’s normal and express what your feeling. Acting happy all the time, and acting like it didn’t happen, doesn’t make it go away.
I’m proud of myself today. I finally let everyone know what I am feeling, and how I’m only taking it day by day now after two years, and only realizing now that it’s all I can do. I just hope my leap of faith into everyone’s hands will help others take a leap of faith as well. We don’t have to be alone and that’s the beauty of RealTime Cancer.
So here it is for everyone to read: Sometimes I’m not okay, and sometimes I don’t want to be.