If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen my weird little episode on Wednesday about my mom’s health update. She texted me that her cancer is dormant, will soon be in remission once again, and that she doesn’t need to do chemo any more. Great news, right? Everybody should be happy, right? Well I freaked out and basically told the entire fucking Internet that I wanted to cry. Then I sat in my car in the work parking lot and cried.
This is (roughly) a blow by blow of what happened inside my head, although several of these thoughts and feelings occurred at the same time, or multiple times:
- I felt no joy at learning my mother would soon be cancer free
- In fact, I felt hollow inside
- I was incredibly guilty about my lack of joy
- Then I felt furious that I would even think that I should feel joy at her health when she was physically and emotionally abusive to me for years
- Then I chastised myself for being so vengeful and not remembering that she is an addict with massively untreated mental health issues
- She herself has told me that every day of her life is unimaginable pain. She has screamed this at me, and howled this at me in the desperation of her illness
- I thought back over all the years I had known her, swinging from miserable to manic and back again. Rarely employed and consistently impaired by real and imagined afflictions
- And I started to wonder if she won’t die of cancer, what will it be?
- As long as I remember having a mother, I also remember preparing myself for her death
- Overdose, murder, suicide, exposure, HIV/AIDS
- Every day of my known life I have imagined the notice, the letter, the call or the text that would finally end the waiting
- So here we go again
- It’s not like I ever thought cancer could kill her ass anyway
I’m starting to hesitate to put stuff like this up on the blog since I have a more followers now than even a few months ago, and some who may or may not be in my family or know my mom. So when I feel this shit and I need to get it out, it seems safer to put it on twitter where the stream will take it away fairly quickly. Not like here, where the crazy fucking shit I say stays on the font page for 2 weeks or more. But twitter isn’t a good medium, not just because of the character limit, but also because it doesn’t allow me to organize my thoughts like I do on here.
I know basically everything I write here about her would probably hurt her. But that’s not new. My mother is the type of person who can turn any random string of letters into an insult. I learned a long time ago that the only action I can take in consideration of her feelings is to stay far fucking away from her. Which also wounded her. And now that we’re sort of talking (really only texting) again, I’m not sure what to do with myself in this context. When it seemed like she was in her final illness, the idea of texting with her didn’t seem heavy. She was about to die. Sure she hadn’t changed at all, still had regular violent outbursts and was fairly manic most of the time, but how much longer would it last anyway? I feel like a dick admitting it, but if she’s not dying, I don’t know how I’ll be able to have the static energy of her in my circle for much longer. Even over text, she can be completely exhausting. Out of all proportion.
Why am I writing this? Because sometimes we’re not noble in the face of death. Sometimes we’re petty and injured and impatient. However much her actions are brought on by her mental illness, her addiction, and her unimaginably horrible childhood, she’s still an emotionally and physically abusive person who I have spent my life worrying about even as she treated me like an after thought, endangered my life, and actively tried to injure me physically and mentally. How is a person supposed to feel about shit like that? There’s no rule book. Even normal people don’t have a rule book.
I sound like a total cunt, but people who have a parent like mine understand. I’ve watched her suffer my entire life.
— Marina Rose Martinez (@Marinaisgo) January 17, 2013