In the spirit of never posting anything less than the whole story, which I consider a personal motto as a blogger, here’s what’s up with this.
I called my grandma to check on my mom, because I’ve been worrying about her despite myself. Turns out that she does have cancer, that her procedure last week wasn’t a lumpectomy, it was a PET scan, which confirmed that the mass in her lung is cancerous. However, the good news is the mass is encapsulated, meaning it’s not going anywhere at the moment. Because she’s had breast cancer two times prior to this, the doctors are worried that it might be breast cancer that managed to spread to her lung. If her breast cancer has simply relocated, they’re going to take out that lobe of her lung and put her on chemo. If it’s true blue lung cancer, they’re just going to take out the lobe and send her home. The lump was found as a result of a test for something else, she didn’t even have any symptoms. It’s really fortunate that they caught it at this early stage because she’s almost definitely going to be fine.
All I can be is angry. Not at cancer, but at my mother. When I first heard that she’d be fine, I got mad because she doesn’t deserve to be fine. She defrauds the state out of insane amounts of money by pretending to be sick in order to get free drugs. It seems like every time I hear anything about her, shes just finished or is about to get another unnecessary test to corroborate her claim that she has some kind of sickness only Vicodin can cure. She’s not a contributor, she’s not a taxpayer, she’s cost society ten times over what she could ever make up for in a lifetime of trying. But why should that matter to me?
I think the answer is that it shouldn’t. I’m not a cop, or a social worker or a welfare administrator. Yeah, as a taxpayer .001 cent or whatever of my annual contribution is being thrown away on her, but that’s hardly something to be this pissed about. Even if she doesn’t have the illness she pretends to have, she’s still a very sick woman. Any person who would chose to live like she lives in order to maintain a constant state of uncomfortable inebriation has something terribly wrong with them. And I begrudge her the good kind of cancer? I’m completely sober over here, getting angry that my mother swindled her way into early detection for a serious illness. Yeah, OK, she was really mean to me, she put me in danger more times than I can count, as a fetus, as a child and as an adult. She only cares for herself and will do anything up to and including violence in order to get what she thinks she needs. But that’s her legacy. Do I want my own legacy to be that I’m the kind of person who wishes crumbling old heroine addicts would die of cancer? I know I’m supposed to say no, but I’m not really sure if I’d mean it. I’m so angry about her being my mom, about everything I never learned, or had, or did because of her insanity, that I never want her to get anything good ever again.
A good person would recognize that she is sick, would have compassion for her suffering. My mom is mentally ill on top of being addicted to drugs. She started using Heroine when she was 14 years old. She’s been on her own, living however she could since she was 13 years old. Her life has been terrible. Because she gave me to my grandparents, I grew up a child of privilege. Yeah, I got hit, but I also got braces, glasses, private school, dance class, church choir, horseback riding, and therapy. Hell, I got horseback riding therapy. She got none of that, and on top of it her step-dad raped her before he kicked her out. He beat on me, but he never went after me in that way.
Today I have a safe house to live in, a wonderful boyfriend, good friends who love me despite myself sometimes. I have a little money, I have some nice things. I complain about my apartment but usually only when I haven’t cleaned recently (funny how that works.) I have a good job where I like almost everybody. What kind of terrible person sits in the midst of this wealth and is angry that a sick woman, a downtrodden, uneducated addict isn’t dying faster than she is? Me, I guess.
I couldn’t help but think at first that while my mom was getting competent, efficient care for her cancer, someone else who cherishes their children, who works hard every day, who tries to be honest and loving and kind, has the same kind of cancer that won’t be found because they’re out being worthwhile instead of scamming the state out of unnecessary tests. A good woman will die while my mother will live and continue to cheat and lie her way through life, just as she always has. But that’s patently ridiculous. There’s no cosmic abacus allocating death from afar. If my mom lives or dies it has no baring on anybody else’s life, and it doesn’t have any baring on mine.
My mom and I are so far removed from each other at this point, why do I keep going back to that well? Why do I make it my business if she has cancer, what/where/when/why/how and all that? Because when all is said and done, I really do care what happens to her, and I hate myself for it. When it comes to her, my heart is a broken Rubik’s cube. I don’t know which direction is up, down, good, bad, or indifferent. I think I compensate well for the deficiencies knowing her has given me, except when I look directly into the event horizon that is our relationship with each other. I usually just ignore that part of me, but the cancer has thrown it in my way.