Small Rebellions

small rebellions

During a recent discussion with my dad, we were reminiscing a bit, and he admitted that I was probably the easiest child to raise. I rarely rebelled and tried my hardest to excel in school.

When you live in a small town, though, and your father is the head of your school…well, rebellion generally isn’t on the menu.

However, sometimes girl nerds have to do their own thing. And back in 1989, that was attending the premiere showing of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

What was the problem with that, you ask? Well, I had a BIG geometry test the next day. Pressure, pressure. Still, I had been studying for the test for at least a week, and I really, really wanted to see the latest Indiana Jones film before everyone else.

My parents let me go, but I knew that I must do well on the test the next day.

That night was perhaps one of the best memories from my teenage years. I and another fangirl friend went to the movie alone and thoroughly enjoyed every single minute.

Even before the movie started, we had a surprise visit from the actor who played the scout master in the film; he talked for a bit and shared his experience in being part of such a big movie. We were thrilled to hear from someone who was actually there, someone who played a part in the latest Indiana Jones film.

That night I barely slept. It was the first movie premiere that I had ever attended, and I was ecstatic. I lay in bed replaying all of the scenes from the film in my mind and humming the theme song. Little sleep, but it didn’t matter.

My friend and I enjoyed bragging the next day about how we had attended the movie premiere and giggled about the humorous bits that only we could share. The nerd girls finally had something that the others didn’t.

And you know what? I still aced the geometry test.

Mother’s Day and Breast Cancer

Source: Mother’s Day and Breast Cancer

Mother's day cancer

My mother died in 1999 after a recurrence of breast cancer.

With little information at the time–no internet, only the beginnings of patient rights–we didn’t recognize the signs of a recurrence until it was too late. Her behavior began to change over time, showing signs of recklessness and forgetfulness. And then she suddenly had trouble walking, having collapsed at home.

Doctors in the ER informed my father that a scan revealed tumors along her spine. She was released home with pain medication, but little else to do as far as next steps. Her extreme reaction to chemotherapy in 1992 precluded any more chemo treatment for the recurrence, and so we were left with pain management and the awareness that her time with us would be limited.

After a call from my father, I drove home from college. She died the next morning on our couch.

Since then, I have regularly avoided going out on Mother’s Day, and that now includes social media as well. People say that the pain and loss of losing your mother–or any other family member, for that matter–lessens over time, but I believe it is more your learning to live with the loss.

And now this year, I have breast cancer yet again. The same cancer that killed my mother so long ago.

I am finding this day to be more difficult than I expected. My flat chest, many medications, and constant pain only serve to remind me of my mother in the most horrible way, that of a shared illness and possible death. And the celebrations that litter my Facebook stream only enhance that awareness.

My mother was loving but a rather complicated woman in that she had a misdiagnosed mental illness. If she had lived longer, she might have been able to receive the treatment that she needed. I know that she did the best she could considering her struggles, and I will honor her for that.

But I cannot join in on the celebration of this holiday, especially this year. I loved my mother despite everything, and the pain of her loss is still too great even after all these years.

If this is the first Mother’s Day that you face alone, please know that my heart and prayers are with you.