Nineteen years ago, Noah's mom suffered from Stage 4 breast cancer. Noah was 8. She beat it.
Since Noah and I began dating and I learned about his mom's medical history, the breast cancer research cause has been all the more meaningful to me. We do walks in honor of her strength and in hopes that others won't have to undergo sickening chemo, damaging radiation therapy, upsetting hair loss, painful reconstruction. Still, my mother-in-law is a survivor. Her cancer story is old, faded, about as un-intrusive to our daily life as a long-ago childhood case of chicken pox.
On Monday, Noah's mom was diagnosed with cancer. We don't know the details, but we're hopeful. We're shocked.
This whole thing feels wrong, suddenly casting our life at weird angles, causing us to bump into the sharp edges of emotions and scenarios that weren't there just a few days ago. She spoke matter-of-factly about what's going to happen; she already has an appointment to get her hair cut short in anticipation of losing it altogether.
Three years ago, my uncle passed away from cancer. Losing him was devastating to the family, but he lived in England with my aunt and cousin. It was they who were with him every painful day, who witnessed his life draw to a premature close. It is my aunt and cousin who feel his ever-present absence. Until now, I never experienced the oddness, the absurdity, that cancer injects into a family dynamic.
While we wait to learn more, I'm focusing on being thankful. Over at the Secret Society of List Addicts, I wrote a few things about my mother-in-law that I love. Go check it out. She's awesome.