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My Heart Unraveling

Last night I showed my black and white flower photographs at a charity event to benefit cancer.  The place was packed with art, music and even a trapeze artist.  I was there for hours drinking, eating and wandering when I happened to look up at a giant 10 foot sign that read CANCER in at least foot tall text.  As I gazed at the word I felt my heart literally unravel.  My eyes welled, heart stopped and nose began to redden.  I lost all sense of place.

Cancer doesn’t touch my world or my family or my life and yet here facing me dead in the face was a word that I heard just a couple of weeks before my mother died.  She had cancer.  I never had time to process that.  I was her medical proxy, I was the one talking to her doctors from across the country and attempting to get all her results and prognosis. But, I was the one who came down with my own life threatening condition and was hospitalized and in surgery during her last days.  I was the one who wasn’t there.  I was the one who missed her funeral because I couldn’t survive a plane trip.  All of this was within a couple weeks.

As I gazed at the words it felt like I was being told by that sign for the first time, your mother has cancer and she died of it.  And I just couldn’t process it.  My brain kept saying, excuse me?  what?  I guess it all happened so fast that it still doesn’t seem real.  I wasn’t able to truly grieve for her or even cry for months.  The surgical area was simply too painful to jiggle.  So here I am nine months after getting the call that she was gone just hours after I was released from the hospital and I am still unraveling.

I thought I was fine.  I thought I was finally moving on.  I thought I could keep going with that word remaining at a distance with her death itself.  Yet, I am raw, exposed and tired of finding out I’m not fine.  I look forward to the anger phase of this.  I’ve heard it comes next, so they say.   At least I’d know I was moving on.

I just want someone to reach in and take me away from it all.  Anyone? Perhaps that’s the very reason I’m not moving forward.  I’m still trying to cover up the pain and send it off to school for it to take care of itself.

My Heart Unravels © Britt Conley


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