My Mama.

Cancer sucks. 

For someone that writes about feelings, sometimes I am not the greatest at processing my own. There are things I don’t often speak about. 

Number one the last year: my momma. 

I didn’t even realize how much I had tucked away my emotions. Don’t get me wrong—they emerged every once and a while (sometimes in an ugly cry that lasted whole days). But, in general, I haven’t spoken about my mom and her battle with cancer. 

Breast Cancer. 

I think most women fear breast cancer, but that fear can into reality. I’ll never forget when I found out about my mom. Christmas break—we were late to something, and she was in downer mood. I thought I had hurt her feelings. I asked what was wrong, hoping to smooth things over. She wouldn’t talk about it. 

Again and again I asked. Finally, in her front room, while my kids played upstairs, she told me that the doctor was concerned at her mammogram. My heart sunk, maybe quit beating altogether. Intuitively, I knew the truth that instant. Then it was a matter of waiting for the official call. 

“Cancer is cruel, but we live in a fallen world and I guess trials are a part of life.” That’s what I’ve been telling myself. “Trials affect everyone.” 

But then came the night she went into the ICU. I thought I might crumble to dust. I may be married and a mom of four kids, I may be “grown up”, but I still need her so desparately. There’s no one like my mom. I’ve never had a fiercer advocate, supporter, love, and teacher in my life. No matter how old I get, I go to her when life gets tough. Sometimes, I don’t even need to go to her because she calls me with her momma instinct. 

So, yeah. 

I believe she will pull out of this. She’s done with chemo now and onto radiation. And through all the fear of the unknown, I have stood in awe of her strength. She has handled this disease with such grace, such faith and trust and willingness to go through everything. She has surrendered—but not in a depressed sort of way. She has conquered. I am so overwhelmed with her quiet strength: her smiles, her jokes about hair loss and being eyelash free, her taking pictures with my dad in matching wigs, her determination to stay active and positive, the way she makes it about me and my family when she is around (she asks if she can rub myneck, watch my kids, feed us dinner, host us at her house…). She is such a beautiful soul. I adore her. 

So, tonight when I listened to Taylor Swift’s new album (I’m a loyal fan, and I’m not ashamed), a song came on, stealing my breath. Tears immediately poured out. I almost choked. And I knew I had to write this blog post. 

THIS. 

THIS SONG. 

This is everything I have felt that I haven’t known how to speak aloud. So, here’s my ode to my mama. The lyrics are everything:

The buttons of my coat were tangled in my hair
In doctor’s office lighting, I didn’t tell you I was scared
That was the first time we were there
Holy orange bottles, each night, I pray to you
Desperate people find faith, so now I pray to Jesus too
And I say to you…

Ooh-ah
Soon, you’ll get better
Ooh-ah
Soon, you’ll get better
Ooh-ah
You’ll get better soon
‘Cause you have to

I know delusion when I see it in the mirror
You like the nicer nurses, you make the best of a bad deal
I just pretend it isn’t real
I’ll paint the kitchen neon, I’ll brighten up the sky
I know I’ll never get it, there’s not a day that I won’t try
And I say to you…

Ooh-ah
Soon, you’ll get better
Ooh-ah
Soon, you’ll get better
Ooh-ah
You’ll get better soon
‘Cause you have to

And I hate to make this all about me
But who am I supposed to talk to?
What am I supposed to do
If there’s no you?

This won’t go back to normal, if it ever was
It’s been years of hoping, and I keep saying it because
‘Cause I have to

Ooh-ah
You’ll get better
Ooh-ah
Soon, you’ll get better
Ooh-ah
You’ll get better soon
Ooh-ah
Soon, you’ll get better
Ooh-ah
Soon, you’ll get better
Ooh-ah
You’ll get better soon
‘Cause you have to


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2 thoughts on “My Mama.

  1. Hallo, Hallo Ms Chapman,

    Our lives are re-directed in small instances of change – I will never quite forget the day (it was Black Friday, 2016) we took Dad to the ER; suspecting it was a stroke (he went by paramedics) only to have him discharged. Less than 24 hours later, we were taking him to the ER ourselves and by the time we reached the hospital he was no longer coherent and he went in/out of TIA strokes for an hour. It was heartbreaking and we literally felt powerless. Just in an adjacent room (if you could call it that?) of the ER, awaiting our turn with the doctor and having all the alarms going on/off. We finally asked one of the ER staff members – in your opinion is this a finality moment or is it something you can come back from? They had no answers.

    And, that is how eight days and a wrecking day of surgery began for us – my Dad still has deficits now (as he was never given after stroke care or intervention; #dontask too long of a story!) but he’s rallied and he’s returnt to a quasi-normal life. Nothing has been the same since and I became his caregiver that January as after the holidays Mum had to work 7 days a week for nearly 12 months thereafter. I’m not even sure how I held onto my blog – but it allowed me the grace to re-direct my focus and to talk stories which meant I had short breaks from my everyday. Fast forward, we’re still sorting out this ‘new life’ and planning on what will come next – as we all want to relocate somewhere else.

    When you mentioned you get hit by emotions out of the blue? I have that happen to me as well. Especially when I think of the future – the Dad I knew is not the Dad I have now and that was hard enough to reconcile but it is also how sometimes you have to dig deeper than you think you have strength to handle just to sort through the emotions, the anguish and the unique ways life continues to test you, your family and your resolve to come back out the other end when a trial of adversity passes along your path.

    I know the circumstances are different – but they’re our parents and there is something so dear about that somehow. I am not a stranger to hospitals or life-changing illnesses, etc as I grew up with elder grandparents, so to go through all of this in my late 30s felt too soon from the last time I had gone through it all (only 10 years) — I also can sympathise with what you said about your Mum. I don’t know what I’d do without mine as well – we are both blessed with Mums who are our best friends and our best cheerleaders; they give us strength and they give us inspiration; here’s to your Mum continuing to beat the odds and recovering her health back to a state before Cancer overtook her body. I’ll keep you all in my prayers and thoughts – and your right – it doesn’t matter how old you are – life hits hard and it doesn’t show mercy. You have to find the grace and the light to carry on when the darkness comes along to wick out our light. Here’s to fighting through and continuing to find reasons to keep JOY and HOPE alive in our hearts.

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