In my family bad news is delivered through the weight of the words before the message is ever clearly spoken. A simple, “Are you busy?” can deliver a punch that buckles your knees and sends you reaching for a chair to sink into.
Last night my mother called just as I had sat down to dinner. I sensed the burden she was carrying the minute I heard her voice. “Are you busy?”
I took the coward’s way out and sought a reprieve. “I’m eating dinner.”
“Okay, I’ll call you back later.”
I hung up the phone and put whatever was waiting for me on the other end on hold. I finished dinner, sorted laundry, loaded the washing machine, walked next door to retrieve James from swimming lessons, and just busied myself in general until I could put it off no longer.
I sank into the couch and dialed my mother’s phone. “Hey. I just sat down. What’s up?”
She small talked a moment before getting down to business. That’s what we do. “Your [family member] went the doctor today. She has a fracture in her back.”
“How did she do that?”
Her pause was audible, “They think she has multiple myeloma.”
My heart stopped. I did not want to ask the next question. I did not want the answer. “What’s that?”
“Cancer. They think she has bone marrow cancer.”
After that all I heard was white noise. Since my Dad’s death that’s what I do when I hear the “c” word. My mind fades away and I no longer register the conversation. Frankly I can’t even be sure I’ve quoted the correct term above because the second I heard it I started blocking it. This is my greatest fear come to life.
What it comes down to is that they are not sure. She has a fracture in her back with no known cause. She exhibits a lot of the symptoms of the disease. The next step is that her bone marrow must be tested, and if she has cancer they can start treatments. Which they have already pointed out is not a cure.
I don’t know how to deal with this. My brain and my heart can not register that this disease wants another member of my family. I’ve done this already. I should not have to do it again.
I sat in my bedroom last night knowing that I needed to pray, but knowing at the same time I can’t. I feel like God failed me last time I prayed for someone to be healed of this disease. I have complete faith in God’s will, but I have no idea what to do when it does not coincide with my desire.
I know my mother will need me to be strong, but I have no idea where from where that strength will come.
I feel broken, and I’m clueless as to how to put the pieces back together.