I read this post that struck a [huge] chord with me. I’m not going to call anyone out [and, you know I’m dying to link but I won’t] but I’m going to tell a story.
In 1994 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, although, I didn’t know about it until later – almost a year later. She came to visit me for my 27th birthday and to tell me she had breast cancer. You can imagine what a wonderful birthday that was. I thought after that -that I didn’t want to have birthdays anymore. In fact, my family could F-up a holiday like no others. On Thanksgiving the dog died, Christmas the oven blew up and Mom threatened a divorce if Dad didn’t get her a new one. Various holidays things happened. That’s why I am often gun shy on holidays – like, what’s next?
So, Mom cornered me and told me she had breast cancer on my birthday but that it was ok. That she’d had a lumpectomy and that everything was fine now. It was in remission. At the time she never got in to any detail on when it was diagnosed but I surmised that it must had been at least six months prior for her to have had a surgery and any kind of chemo or radiation. [And, hospitals and treatment programs weren’t as on the ball in Indiana and back then] She had hair, she seemed fine and I was already suspicious that this had been going on for longer than anyone would ever admit -going on without anyone in the family telling me.
Years, later her cancer came back but this time I was told she had the flu. “Mom’s in the hospital because of this awful flu virus.”
“Can I talk to her?”
“Oh, she’s asleep right now. I’ll tell her you called and have her call you.”
She never called nor would anyone let me talk to her. It was all her doing – she didn’t want them to tell me that she was sick, that her cancer had come back. After weeks and weeks of this I finally was told that yes, her cancer had come back and even metastasized into her brain, liver and lungs and that she only had only months to live. I flew home to try and see her but they wouldn’t let me. She wanted them to keep me out. She didn’t want me to see her like that. I did manage to get in to see her and she wouldn’t even look at me. I kissed her on the forehead and told her I loved her and that I would be back to see her in a few weeks. When I did go back to see her I saw her in a casket.
I was sad but also I felt very angry. I was angry with all of them for keeping this from me. Oh yeah, they were trying to protect me but instead I felt gypped. I felt like had I known I could have spent more time with her. Gone home more, prepared myself more. But, no – I was thrown right into the shock she was gone. No one else in the family had done any kind of preparation, either (well, except for my father dragging her to a crockpot attorney when she was sick to make sure she willed everything to him) and I had to do everything.
Funny how the person they were trying to protect was the one doing everything that needed to be done for her service. People she worked with [she was VP of a large bank] had no idea. They thought she just had the flu, too, and would be back at work in a few weeks. They showed up at her service devastated. They closed the bank for her service (this was a very large bank that did business internationally so it was a big deal). People quit after that because they liked working with her so much.
Yeah, funny and – I still feel gypped and I still get angry about it at times. I constantly wondered why she didn’t tell me. Why she wanted to keep it from me. It made me feel I couldn’t handle anything. I was discredited and I was kept out of the big secret. Other people in the family got to be around and handle it, why not me and I could have been there more than my F-ing jack@ss father.
So, yeah – I had to get that off my chest after reading this post. I hope the author of it reads this and sees another point of view and to all of you – let the people who love you handle it. Don’t just make a decision that will eventually affect them after it’s too late. Give them some kind of credit and please, make a plan. The person that is kept in the dark could be the one left picking up the pieces.
Like I was.