Last night, I had a meltdown. A sit on the floor of the bathroom, sob until I couldn’t sob anymore, cry so hard I get a headache, meltdown. It was bad enough that I reached out to a friend who is a HER2 breast cancer survivor and sent an SoS text to my mom. My husband and our kids were having a movie night, and I didn’t want my meltdown to ruin their night, so he didn’t know I was losing it in the bathroom. He didn’t know I’d reached out to my mom and to my friend…until my mom showed up and simply asked him, “Where is she?” He was stunned to find me sitting there on the floor, sobbing, but he also knew to leave me with my mom.
My mom had colon cancer a few years ago. She nearly died from an obstruction that December 26th. It was horrible. She had emergency surgery and spent weeks in the hospital. She knows, better than most, how I feel right now and why I melted down.
It’s the holidays.
I’m terrified this is my last Christmas Eve…Christmas Day…New Year’s Eve…New Year’s Day with my husband and children.
My mother gave voice to my fears last night. And, she validated them (and me) by telling me she felt the same way after she was diagnosed. She understood and let me cry. I just kept telling her how scared I am. How truly, deeply scared I am.
Then, my friend, who I’d texted, called me and told me I have to remember that the stories I read are not my story. We don’t know what my story will be. All we know is what my story is right now, and right now, I’m doing everything I can so this isn’t my last Christmas Eve…Christmas Day…New Year’s Eve…New Year’s Day. My mom reminded what they told me two appointments ago: We don’t know what’s going to kill us. We just know we’re all going to die. It could be this. It could be walking out of my house in the morning.
My husband said the same thing to me after my mom left last night. I told him I feel as though I’m staring death in the face, and I’m terrified. He told me I stare death in the face everyday. I just don’t know what it looks like.
It doesn’t make me less scared.
But, as my friend said last night, the stories I read are not mine. I don’t know what mine is. What I know is what my mom told me: I cannot allow the fear to consume me. I have to find my way out of this meltdown.
So, I’m sitting here, in my living room, waiting for my in-laws to come over for our annual Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes celebration while watching Food Network wearing a red and white candy stripe wig. I look ridiculous, but I bought and wore the wig the last day of the semester on a dare from a student, and I felt okay that day. It felt good to be silly. So, I’m hoping this helps pull me out of the meltdown.
And, if it doesn’t, at least it’ll be good for a few laughs.