I remember sitting there, on that dark green couch that was torn apart. Everything had started to fall apart once there was no one around to fix it. My hands were wrapped tightly around each other and my breathing came out slowly. My body was letting me know something was wrong before I was really told there was. I had been waiting for over three hours to hear the news. Over the last few months, my mother had developed a scab on her the tip of her nose. We thought it would go away, but it never did. She went that morning to find out if it was cancerous or not. After those long hours, I was still waiting. This time I was waiting for her to tell me when she was ready and I was willing to wait as long as it took. I wanted her to know I would be by her side through it all even if it was bad news. I could hear music blaring from the driveway. My mother tended to play music loudly when she wanted to block things out. She had done it my whole life. As the music continued, I knew something was wrong. I squeezed my eyes tightly and hoped that she was just listening to a catchy song instead of trying to escape reality. Moments later my mother walked into the house, her white hospital bracelet seemed to be the only thing I could notice. I looked up at her, and saw tears forming in the light blue eyes that matched mine. Her pretty petite face seemed to develop even deeper undereye bags that she did not have this morning.
“I have skin cancer, Sis. I am going to need radiation,” Her voice wavered on the word radiation. Hearing the words I have cancer come from someone who you love is a feeling that I’ll never forget. Everything around me seemed to stop and all I could focus on is what if I lose my mom. The cancer wasn’t at that point, but still some part of me thought it. I looked around the living room at the empty seats. When hearing this news, you would expect the family to wrap themselves around my mother. Yet it was only us. My father had gone to God knows where and my brothers moved out of the house because they claimed they couldn’t handle the split between my parents. Granted it was a messy split, but the damage they had done by leaving was overwhelming at times. So instead of having other people to share this with, my mom shared it with her only daughter. I quickly wrapped my arms around her, and from that moment turned off my emotions to the best of my abilities. I had always been a closed off shy person but this time I wanted to make sure that my mom did not have the added stress of taking care of me. I told myself to be strong for her because there was no one else. During our tight embrace, the house seemed too large for us. Memories of laughter seemed to echo in the silence. The atmosphere was heavy, far heavier than anything I could have imagined. “If radiation does not work, then I will need to have extensive surgery on my nose. The doctors say that they want to try radiation but more than likely I will need the surgery,” She struggled to speak evenly. The cancer had found its way on the tip of her nose and we both knew that if they did surgery there would be serious scarring. My mother had always been one for looks, and bluntly told me when I wasn’t looking presentable. It never bothered me, that was just how she was. Her looks had been her comfort. I remember her always telling me Life may be hard right now but at least I always manage to make myself look better then I feel. She always looked presentable, even through the split with my father she made sure she had on eyeshadow and lipstick. Even as she went to the hospital to see if she had cancer, she managed to put makeup on. Her looks were something that she grown to become proud of and now there was a big chance her face would have a scar from the tip of her nose all the way to her hairline.
“Mom, The scar will be worth it because that means you will be okay. We will be able to find things that cover up but for now let’s get focus on getting through this,” I told her.
I realized that things would change between us, I was no longer the daughter who needed her mom to help her. I needed to be the daughter that helped her. I knew that I would need to do pick up things that she could no longer carry like cleaning and cooking. Yet none of that mattered, the only thing that did was her getting through this. As scared as I was about the unknown, I somehow knew everything would be alright and we would get through this together. After a long months of radiation, the doctors found the cancer still was there. So my mom had the surgery, and it was one of the hardest times of her life. The recovery time was long and painful at times, but I was always at her side trying to make her smile. The day that she went to work and put makeup on, I knew that we had gotten through it.