Dancing in the Dark

Eight years ago my mom was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer and my world shattered. My mom. My rock. My person. Was she going to die? That question I couldn’t even allow to grace my thoughts. Instead; two year plan… We’re going to beat this!!! Now, here we are, eight years later. My mom has been fighting for eight years. The cancer has metastasized and is in her bones. There is no beating it anymore, just maintaining. Just praying. I have felt the epitome of life coming out of me with the birth of my daughter, and felt the dark cloud of death looming around my every thoughts the last few years. He peers through the windows in our hard moments. In sunnier days I like to think he’s moved away. That he’s not coming around here anymore. But then the bad news comes. Knock, knock. He’s never gone too long before he brings more bad news to the door. We have good days. Maybe good weeks. But each month something new. Something sad. Something that kicks the wind out of my moms spirits and I’m left holding on to this dream that this story doesn’t end the way we all know it will.

My mom will go back into chemo next week. But this time to no end. No two year plan and we’re through it. She will go back into chemo to simply stay alive as long as possible. Just to keep fighting. “Are you sure you want to?” a friend asked her. She simply replied, ”yes.”

Motherhood is something that you can only truly understand once you become a mother. I always knew I had a good one. The kind of mother that is so insanely selfless. The kind that remembers every detail about your life. That celebrates you by shouting from the tops of mountains how proud she. What I understand about motherhood from her is that you fiercely fight for your children. I know my mom endures more pain and heartache than anyone I know. She fights and fights against all odds, and she does it for us. For the simple moments with my brother and I. Motherhood, when done right, is heavy, because you’re expected to sacrifice everything to be there. She has been there for it all.  But what happens when the cloud of death is trying to take you away? When your children are screaming, “stay stay!!” You do everything you can to stay. So she fights.

This Mother’s Day I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being here and fighting to see me be a mom.  Thank you for being the best and funniest Nana to two little girls who adore you.  I know he’s lurking outside your door.   But I have a big blanket mom, let’s stuff it under the crack of the door, turn all the lights off and be very quiet. Maybe he won’t know we’re home. Home inside these walls where life keeps living. Where we laugh and dance to Bruce Springsteen. Where we love each other wildly.  Each moment. Each week. Each month. Please give us more years. “Go away.” I whisper, “No one’s home.” The music keeps playing…
“You can’t start a fire
Sittin’ ’round cryin’ over a broken heart
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancin’ in the dark”

One thought on “Dancing in the Dark

  1. Oh Rachel, my heart aches for you. I know how you feel, it was lung cancer for my mom, less then one year. Even though it was over 16 years ago, I still remember so many days and conversations. Spending our last summer together before I had to say good-bye was bittersweet. My wonderful memories are a constant comfort, as are the picture albums I can look at with Stephanie and laugh at all the good times we shared. I’ll be thinking of both of you.

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