Last Minute Lung Cancer

So I usually like to have at least 5 days of this blog in the hopper, but thanks to some busy weekends and late week nights, I haven’t been as good at planning as I usually am. Now it’s 11 p.m. on the night before this will publish and I spent two hours after work today researching Internet porn and it’s effects on the female of the species. And now I have nothing for the blog. Well, that’s not true, I have some outlines in the drafts folder, but none of them are interesting to me right now.

So, I took out this weird little writer’s deck I got for free when I worked at the public library. In the time it takes for Ben to brush his teeth, I’m going to try and pull something out of that deck and my ass that will save this post. Ready, go!

How totally fitting, I actually have been writing this letter in my head all day.

a blank white card that says 'write a letter' on it in green writing

Dear Mom,

I heard that you think you have lung cancer. I’m sorry, that sounds rough. The first thing I thought of when Grandma told me is that you can’t have cancer, because you can’t die. This isn’t the kind of situation where the outpouring of filial love has clouded my judgement and caused my reality tests to become unhinged. I just don’t think you’ll ever die. You’ve been dying since the day I met you, eventually “I’m dying” starts to loose it’s impact.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really sorry that the doctors think whatever is in your lungs justifies a lumpectomy, and I’m really sorry you’re already telling my grandma it’s “probably cancer.” I know we run negative, but she’s an old woman, I think it’s freaking her out. Then again, it might not be, she’s kind of hard to read.

Maybe I sound callous right now, in fact, I probably do. People with normal mothers are more than likely appalled. But for every time you’ve actually had cancer, you’ve told the whole family you “probably have cancer” 5 times more than that. And I still take the bait every time. Maybe I’m being petty, I have a wonderful life, I shouldn’t begrudge you your dramatics from the remote stability I’ve built myself far away from you. And yet, I resent your indulgence.

Our interactions have taught me that you do not care for me. You may think you do, but you only care for what I can do for you, what I can give to you, or what you can take from me. After 28 years, you have no use for me beyond that. And yet, I have an endless, reasonless longing for you that even 5 years of avoiding you can not seem to squelch. Every day I wake up with a hole in my chest from where you standing side-kicked my heart out when you left me to rot at my grandparents house, and when you tried to convince me I was worthless so I would quit school and take care of you, and when you’d rather do drugs and lie to me than be any kind of mom to me.

I can’t tell you how immature it is that I still dwell on this shit. I’ve done every kind of trick and 12 step and therapy to try and wipe this out of my brain, but it wont go. I’m starting to think it’s always going to be there, and I’ll just have to correct for my deficiencies, like mom-shaped bifocals for the rest of my life. Maybe that’s not so bad. Everybody probably has something somebody side-kicked out of them at some point. And we’re all just walking around with these mom and dad and lover shaped boot marks all over ourselves, trying to compensate for what we’ve lost.

I am sorry you may or may not have cancer again. I’m more sorry that you’re going to get a piece of your lung cut out this week, and after 5 years and thousands of dollars of professional help, I can still feel your excitement, even from over here. You don’t have to get cancer to have people love you and do things for you, you just have to stop being an emotionally and physically abusive drug addict.

Out of all the people in the world, only one other person has earned less rights to my compassion, and that asshole’s dead. And yet, I still worry, I still cry over you and feel bad for you. I wish I could rip you out at the root. My friends say that my worrying over you is a sign of my humanity, but if this is humanity, I don’t want it right now.

Maybe someday I’ll get back to the place I was when all I felt for you was remorse, and I was able to honestly say things like “I hope she gets better, just not near me.” But from where I am right now, I feel that place was a lie. Not like this is the truth, really. All of it is true. I do hope you get better, I wish you were better. I wish I was better too.



Ben was done brushing his teeth about 30 minutes ago, but at least I got that off my chest. And I have a blog for tomorrow. See kids, everything works out in the end. Seriously, though, this dramatic cancer letter was almost ruined about 20 times because I kept writing lunch cancer instead of lung cancer. I’m a stinker.

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