February 26, 2006
Ever since getting the news that my mother's cancer is back, and will likely kill her this time, I have been searching for a path that will lead me through her death. I've been aware for several years now that both of my parents were getting older and that their health was becoming an increasing factor in their lives. When Michele and I moved to Vancouver one of the big issues for me was realizing that I was limiting the number of times I would see my parents again simply by living so far away.
Living 450 miles away is a good distance for a lot of reasons for me. I am close enough to get home should the need arise, but far enough away to feel like I am out of their sphere of influence. Planning my next visits, and preparing to talk to her is proving to be as difficult as you would imagine. The possibility that a given visit could well be the last one adds tremendous emotional spin. Especially when you factor in the determination my parents have towards living as emotionless a life as possible.
In two weeks I am headed over for her birthday and that of my niece Riley. And two weeks after that I'll pass through town on my way to a friend's wedding in Chicago. I am hoping that in these two visits I can determine for myself what I think her life expectancy is; three months, six, and year. My gut feeling today is that she will likely not see her next birthday. I don't know yet what, if anything, I need to say to her before she dies. As an adult I can see her as an adult and accept who she is and how she conducts her life. As her child I can't begin to imagine a world without her. And I don't want to see her, especially if I know it is for the last time.