Worst Possible Moments: Reflections on Death and Other Stuff

Well that’s a pretty dreary title but I’ve had a lot of time to think about things due to forced relaxation (errrr ahem read unemployment). The worst possible moments, you know the things you fear your whole life, have a way of landing on everyone’s doorstep at some point or another.

At first I thought unemployment was going to be the zinger. Then on the same day I found out our unit was cut, I also learned that an acquaintance of mine had suddenly lost his 19 year old daughter. Somehow it made me feel embarrassed that a healthy, able bodied person like me could feel badly about something so mundane as being unemployed.

Shortly after this news, my mom went into surgery in April to remove a growth in her colon. It turned out that the growth had already spread and that there wasn’t anything she could do. Now this time, the feeling of dread was much more palpable. This was something I could truly be scared about.

So I went home to visit my mom in Toronto. For the first time I felt really unsure about seeing her. What would she look like, how would she be, how would I be, how do I stare cancer right in the face, what are we going to talk about?

It turns out she felt the same way. She said she was worried I wouldn’t recognize her. I said “Do you still have those big brown eyes?” she said “Yes”, I said “Do you still have that crazy head of curly hair?” and she said “Yes”. And I said “Then I’ll know you anywhere.” and she laughed.

When I arrived home I first saw the back of her little curly head and then she stood up to hug me. I looked into her big brown eyes and wrapped my arms around her. This is my mom and it felt so good to have her there and to be able to feel her so close.

Then we sat down, she demanded a glass of wine and we chatted about this and that. At 7:00 pm she said she was going to bed. Usually my mom and I would stay up until 1:00 in the morning with me begging her to go to bed.

Over the next three weeks we talked about everything from the ordinary to the fact that her life was ending and how she felt about it. I found it hard and I found it easy. I felt like we were covering new terrain but at the same time it felt so ordinary. That this is just what life is about and I’m grateful that we can have these kinds of conversations that seem ordinary but really are quite extraordinary. To me this is the essence of human closeness.

This summer has been full of these kinds of bittersweet moments. I feel like I am living in full techno colour both here on the coast when I’m home with Dave or when I’m back in Port Credit with my family and my mom. We laugh, we cry, we bug each other and then we come together again.

I still worry about things like getting a job but I also know that the time I have is limited. So I enjoy every single thing I have and am thankful for my family, my amazing friends and especially Dave and Reuben.



Filed under Conversations with My Mother, Random Musing

2 responses to “Worst Possible Moments: Reflections on Death and Other Stuff

  1. Rakastan syödä keksejä

    Mothers give us the wisdom we need – even after they have said good bye. Thanks for sharing this Tess. XOV

  2. Nicole

    I know what you mean Tessa. After having had cancer… I sometimes start freaking out in my head about making sure I enjoy my time and making sure I’m living life how I want to – because I can see how limited my time is. So in those months when money is tight or I’m stressed about something dumb, I just remember that. It is hard to stay in that place, but really the things that matter most are enjoying our time here and being with those we love.

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