And then Cancer came to visit…
She arrived unannounced and without warning. Sak en pak daar sit sy met haar bont klere en lelike gelaat en als.
It was the one visit every family dreaded because she doesn’t leave without taking someone or some part of someone with her. It was horrible having her around. Sy maak net huis moles!
She came at the worst time ever. The time we were all so caught up in our own lives and missed all her messages saying that she was coming soon. We avoided her and acted like she never existed and prayed that she would rather come next year or the year after or after that, we were to busy now. But that bitch… Sy kom wane sy wil. Soma net so!
En soema met ‘n bang!
My marriage was falling apart, I had told myself that maybe it could work but I knew it was a lie, he had hurt me to bad and I was too stubborn to see past my hurt and really try to make it work or get over it. I had to leave, I couldn’t stay. But that would have to wait right now I had to make room for her.
She called me saying that there was a lump, the doctors took some tests and we would know soon enough if it was our time; our time for the dreaded visit. We prayed for it not to be so, but I think deep down we all knew it was coming, and we weren’t prepared. Can you ever be prepared?
Then it was so… En daar sit sy en kyk vir ons. We had no idea on what to do? What do we say, who do we blame? It’s in us, all the cancer, some are lucky and never gets a visit, but some are not.
It hit my family hard. She came to visit my mother. Oh jine… Nou dai antie vatie stront van kabouters nie, maar Cancer… Cancer het haar ge-rattle… En dit het ons almal ge-rattle. Dit was vir my weird…
I could not believe that through everything we as a family had been through that this would break her. Okay, I may not know what it feels like and all but you have to understand, I knew my mother. I knew her as strong willed woman, who could take on the world kaal hande and win. She handled us, my father and work like a boss… Ma toe kom dai heks en skielik ken ek nie meer my ma nie.
My daughter was three years old at the time and she loved her granny to bits, she also couldn’t understand what was going on. It was like the mother we knew was gone and is now replaced with a weak, frail and unrecognizable fraction of the person she used to be, someone who seemed to have lost all her faith.
I hated that bitch! I swore that all the while she was there I would never cry. I would never break and I would never let her take me down with her. She might come and visit me later in my life but right now I didn’t smaak for her kak.
I paced around the room, fighting with my God. I asked many questions but I could not get an answer that was satisfying enough for my heart and soul so I stopped. I looked up and over to my daughter. I looked at my failing marriage and the road ahead for me and I knew that I could not do it without her.
No! No! No!
You can’t have her… I still needed her to much. We all still needed her to much. I’m not ready yet. I’m sorry but you can’t have her. I sighed and got into the bed and slept.
I got a call the next day, my mom had tried to hurt herself and decided that she was a danger to herself and she had to get admitted to a place of safety. I despised that sickness even more but I knew that something inside her had changed, she need to get away for her, out of the house where she was held captive where the only company she had was that dread sickness.
At first we couldn’t see it, that this place where she was surrounded by different people going through different things was faith’s way of coming visit and showing her and us that this cancer, which seemed like the worst mountain to climb was a mere drop in the pool of dread, hurt, pain and sorrow others were going through on a daily basis. Helping others gave her life new meaning and breathing life into the lost souls who now surrounded her made her believe again and it was amazing seeing her come back to life and watching her faith be restored. Oh faith. What a wonderful friend she is. Bright like the morning sun on a cloudy day. Our silver lining. She showed us that even though getting a visit from cancer seemed like the worst thing in the world that can happen to someone, it needed be a permanent visit or a scary one either. Cancer can be defeated! CAN BE DEFEATED. Has been defeated so many times in the past by people just like you and me.
She wasn’t easy to accommodate her but with help and with understanding she can be on her way very soon.
Two months later we were ready and believe me when I say we were ready, armed with love, understanding, great doctors, faith and a will that couldn’t be broken, there was no way she was going to be around for much longer. And I’m telling you she kicked Cancer’s butt like a boss!
When she took her hair, it made me laugh… Come on… can you imagine your mom bold… Dai bless was hilarious. And when others cried about it I laughed, and she laughed; it became an adventure, all the wigs and personalities that came with them; it was magical really. We became best friends, something every young woman wishes to be with her mother, but the path there is always rocky and full of stumbles at first, but you will get there.
Then she took it a part of her that made her woman. I looked at her when we had the reconstruction talk. I told her that this was unfortunately her way playing dirty and feeling like she has won, this cancer but she can’t let it take her womanhood. Just because she will be without it doesn’t mean that she is not whole. Just because a part of you is now taken away it doesn’t make you incomplete or malformed or whatever negative thing your mind had conjured up about you not having that piece anymore meant. The loss of body part does not lead to loss of heart, of person or of self. In fact it makes you stronger and an example too many others like you that you don’t need to be defined by just one thing.
It’s been six years…And I still have not shed a tear. I know now that sometimes you have to be the will and the strength someone else needs. Just being there, being a shoulder to lean on, and firm hand to hold and a rock to start building them up again on… Just for once you need to be selfish for the right reasons and show them that you’re there and that you got them no matter what happens.
One day she looked at me and said that I never looked at her like she was sick… And I said that didn’t look at sickness, I was looking at my mother and I knew that we will get through it and we had.
It was hard, it almost tore us apart, and it almost made us lose faith… But once we all got on board and started to understand… It became bearable and I can almost say easy. With her eye on the prize I can say that my mother kicked Cancer’s butt like a pro and I hope that her story is an encouragement to all who had received their visits and need to have their faith restored.