Of course the first thought is… Now seriously, Madalina, are you gonna make THIS too, public? Yes, I am just about to. It’s who I am. As all the rest of my writing is. Just one note: make sure you have a good glass of wine at hand, or a chocolate, or a napkin. I have a pack of Manners, a 0.5l bottled water, a photograph and a doll (she’s a dancer).
I lost my father to a pulmonary cancer when I was 10. And my mother to a brain cancer when I was 19. So my adolescence was, basically, a nightmare. Day in, night out.
At 4pm today I have my weekly therapy session. And the two questions I have to answer to are: 1. How did the time of your mother’s being sick transform you? 2. How did you live through that?. Piece of cake!
Phuuu… I thought about how my having lost my parents, especially my mom, affected me, so many times, for many years. For all my life ever since. It must have made me bitter, at some point. So, so bitter… no surprise I love everything and everyone coming with a bitter-sweet flavour…. But I didn’t let hatred to get a hold on me. I just shut down. I build walls sky-high and forest-thick around me. I couldn’t talk about any of all these, I didn’t want to let it show. What I did not know for a very, very long time, was that by doing so, I was equally shutting down my chances to being happy. We cannot numb selectively… somebody once said. It took me 15 years to understand this.
My mother’s sickness and my witnessing her sufferance broke me. It allowed the widest range of emotions to manifest inside me: from hatred to love, thousands of nuances, interpretations and levels of intensities. In the end, love won. I am blessed. But to get there, I had to fight hard, every single day of my life, to listen to my inner feelings, to my heart, to my soul. They have, all the time, told me nothing else but I love this life. I treasure it. The sunrise makes me happy, and it always will.
My mother’s death taught me life happened there and then. There may be no tomorrow. There may not be a second chance. To hug someone, to tell them how much they mean to you, to tell them you are grateful to have them in your life, to tell them that they, too, make you happy. To say Thank you. The simple, plain, too often overlooked… Thank you, from the bottom of your heart. My mother’s being sick left me vulnerable and scared and shattered. Left me with a mountain of pain. And when she died, I felt I was left alone in the world. It was a grey day, as I recall it, sitting there, literally in the middle of the cemetery alley, petrified. Grey, heavy sky above me.
If I tell you I have always, always seen the sun and the blue sky behind every heavy cloud ever since, would you believe me?! This is how my mother’s sickness and pain transformed me. I was left with a tough choice to make: I would either love or hate; everything and everyone. I honestly can’t even tell if the choice was mine in the end – or to start with. I feel as if I was given a precious gift, I was guided to choose love. What I did though, is I left that 19 years old little girl behind, left all alone, standing there in the middle of that cemetery alley. I couldn’t hold her ever since. I couldn’t feel her pain. I run away. And I blamed everyone for having left her all alone, when in fact, it was me, all that time, the one who could not ever go back.
And today, 15 years after, I see her standing there still. She’s still waiting, patient as she has always been. You know, she looks at me with this soft, broken smile on her face… the tears have dried by now. How many tears can one share?! But she’s not upset anymore. She is just waiting to be redeemed. To be forgiven, to be heard, to be understood. So I walk towards her, and my knees are shaking. But I’m not afraid anymore. I grew up, I was loved and cared for, I can take care of her now and I shall. I can’t hug her just yet… but I reach out to her with an open palm. She holds my hand. We’re reunited. I’m pretty sure we’re gonna be all right now. Happy. Grateful, mostly.
How did I live through it? God… I don’t know. I don’t know how did I live through it. I had no choice. Or did I?! It felt as if I didn’t. As if I was trapped in a crappy destiny, not knowing which and whose sins am I paying for. They say we pay for our parents sins… Now, chew that. My mother was dying under my eyes, and I was helpless. To me, to her, to my brother, to my aunt and my uncle, to my grandmother. I was helpless. Not useless, but helpless. It killed me.
I may as well carry a predisposition in my genes to get sick of cancer one day. But hey, I also got happiness and love in my genes. They are stronger, far stronger today. I’ve just made myself a hot cup of chocolate. The future is not ours to tell. But today… I’m pretty sure we have a word when it comes to here and now. Dare to forgive and care for yourselves, and be happy!
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