Two years ago, I found myself desperately wanting to make memories for B-man and the Ultimate Bengals Fan. It was the day before my surgery and I had this nagging thought that if anything happened to me, I wanted them to have one last fantastic final memory of how cool their mom was. To take it a step further, earlier in the week I’d asked Other Mom Kelley to take over my homeschooling duties in the event of the unthinkable (in her typical style she told me that we were not going there). I had a fabulous day of skipping school and shopping for Halloween, buying pumpkins and playing in the park. I secretly hoped that I would see those costumes on my babies. I think there was some guilt in the mix because I knew I’d be gone for 3 nights and my hubby would be spending time at the hospital.
Eight days, a pulmonary embolism and a cancer diagnosis later, I was back home. The future held a port insertion, 7 rounds of chemo, a Thanksgiving that ended up with a bald mom and a Christmas I don’t remember anything about except being horribly sick and tired (unlike my normal sick and tired which occurs when the boys decide to play basketball or soccer in the living room). There weren’t too many memories made except those that the B-man talks about. They all involve my bald head. Apparently, no child appreciates a mom with no hair.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had to rely on memories. A dear friend passed away as a result of her battle with breast cancer. Ironically, it wasn’t the cancer that killed her, it was the chemotherapy which had damaged her heart beyond repair. It’s always scary to think that the thing that supposed to cure you tends to end up killing you in the long run. Anytime another survivor dies, it chips away at my resolve for a bit. Fortunately, it comes back, but like a scar, the resolve is never quite the same as what it was before.
I find that memories are strange things. They warp with time. My memories of my paternal grandma come in flashes now and they are always positive. Initially, I remembered some negative things, but mostly I just remember being loved. I have more vivid memories of my maternal grandpa, but even those are more of a reflection from pictures or other events. Time has a strange way of changing things so you only remember what you want.
My Ultimate Bengal Fan recently mentioned that his memories of his beloved Papaw (my dad) were mostly gone. When I asked him what he did remember, he told me that he remembers being loved. Nothing else; just loved. I can’t imagine a better memory of someone than being immersed in an unconditional love. That’s what Papaw had for his Bengals Fan. It was a love that transcended this world and has a connection to the next. Despite the disappointment that B-man feels for not knowing his Papaw, I know there’s a connection there. Some memories are made by God, others by us and some are a combination of both.
Tomorrow, I get the chance to make more memories. Cancer wasn’t able to steal that from me. Chemo might have taken my recall, but not my memories – at least not yet.
As an ovarian cancer survivor, I know that the Beast is lurking; looking for a chance to reassert itself into my physical being. It’s a constant presence in my mind, so I know it’s just dying (excuse the pun) to get another shot at me. I can only do so much to keep it away. The rest is in God’s hands, exactly where it belongs.
So tomorrow, I put the Beast back in the box and spend time with the Ultimate Bengals Fan, the B-man and the Best Husband Ever making memories. While they may fade with time, I hope my “men” remember the love and joy and that it transcends time.