“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver
Most of us over the age of 12 already know life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. But, maybe social media and blogs like mine make it seem like the lives of others are a little like this?
For my part, it’s not a conscious effort to misrepresent my life. But the fun, joyous, or exciting bits of life certainly flow more freely when writing than the more personal challenges, the mundane, or the things about which I might feel ambivalent. Maybe it’s the Minnesotan in me – not wanting to make a fuss or draw pity or sympathy from my friends when I know we all have our own struggles.
At the end of February my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had it when I was in college but DCIS, very early stage, was treated with a lumpectomy and then radiation and that was about 18 years ago…no signs of cancer since. Until this year. I returned from a weekend in Scottsdale to the shocking news that a routine mammogram uncovered stage one breast cancer in my mom. And though I knew stage one was supposed to be “good” in terms cancer diagnoses (Really. There’s a “good” when it comes to cancer.) as you might imagine, I was still anxious and pretty distracted while we waited for weeks for her to get in for her mastectomy.
So back in March I took a break from writing. And I actually told only a handful of friends about my mom because I didn’t really want to talk about it. You can see why I wasn’t writing – because to write and exclude that big part of what was on my mind would seem really odd, but to write about it while it was going on felt wrong for me. And even after April when my mom’s surgery was done, my silence went on, because by the time I felt like writing again I went away on vacation. But I’ve been back for a month now and things are looking up. I’m ready to share.
Long story short, I am lucky and grateful to be able to say that my mom’s surgery went smoothly. She recovered quickly, and even better: the tests they ran post-surgery showed she did NOT need chemo. I’m not sure why or how we got this truly best-case scenario, given that cancer was in the picture, but we are all feeling even more thankful and appreciative these days of our mom and the time we have with her. It is going to be a great summer! (Cue the unicorns).