Yesterday morning, I overheard my parents arguing about a Facebook and felt like crying. It was nothing new. In dealing with cancer, I am learning that my life is a 24-hr theme park with Being-On-Edge-of-Tears as the most popular ride. The causes for that emotional state differs. Sometimes it was because your mother was dying. Sometimes it was because we are all dying but we are more aware of some deaths than others. Sometimes it was because your mother has asked you to start packing up her things to be given away when she dies, that she was so resilient and brave in the face of eternal annihilation while you’re a soggy mess, crying over cups of teas and diced carrots. Most of the time though, in general, it was because you hate everything and life suck.
Yesterday’s episode was because I was happy. And sad. And upset. Simultaneously. Since beginning her medication, my mother barely had the strength to eat. She’d get violent coughs every time she speaks. Most of her days were spent on the couch in our living room, dozing off the effects of two different chemo drugs waging wars in her body.
But yesterday was different.
Yesterday, she had a Good Day. She woke up and ate almost half a bowl of rice without throwing up. She picked up her phone and looked through Facebook posts. She commented on things. And she had the strength to banter with my father. It has been so long since I’ve heard her speak that loudly that I panicked. Was she sick? Was this a new episode? But no, it was just a good day. We were having a rare good day, and all I wanted to do was to cry, because I was happy that she was well, because I was sad that it would end in a few hours, because I was beginning to realise the importance of a moment, a minute, an hour, because everything was moving too fast in the wrong direction, like a rollercoaster going unhinged, but that morning we were somehow given a moment of reprieve from the shadows that have been clouding our lives.
That morning reminded me of the pre-cancer days. Every single of one of those days must have been a good day, because we had strength in our arms and legs and lungs, because we could walk to the kitchen without getting tired, but we hadn’t appreciated it then.