Friday, October 24, 2003

There's a song that's inside of my soul. It's the one that I've tried to write over and over again~ Only Hope, Switchfoot

I have one of these. You know, a song that I've tried to write time and again and just can't. It's about one of the longest nights in my life. So, I thought maybe if I wrote it out here, maybe I could get some inspiration~or at least get it off my chest. So, here goes story time.

Spring semester my senior year of high school my mom was diagnosed with cancer. That summer she went through all the "right" surgeries and didn't even have to go through chemotherapy. In the process, however, we found out that she also has emphysema, which actually runs genetically in our family--I might get it even though I don't smoke. Due to her emphysema, every time my mom went in for medical treatments it would take her at least a week longer to heal than expected.

Going away to college was particularly difficult for me because of my mom's frailty. By that time my parents' divorce had gone through and my mom was pretty much on her own in the middle of nowhere (I don't think my sister had moved back in yet). Early December my mom went back into the hospital for an outpatient surgery. Needless to say, her emphysema kept her hospitalized. My mom was supposed to come to my choir concert. She had promised. But now she was in a hospital in Milwaukee and I couldn't do anything to help. So, I called my aunt in Milwaukee. I took a bus from Madison to Milwaukee Friday night and my aunt picked me up and took me to the hospital. They moved my mom into her own room so I could stay the night with her. My aunt picked me back up in the morning to take me back to the bus station so I could make it back in time for my rehearsal and concert.

That night was one of the longest nights in my entire life. I lay awake in a reclining chair most of the night watching my mom. They were trying a medicine on her that made her toss and turn all night. When she finally did fall asleep, the nurses came in to give her more medicine and had to wake her again. My mom has always been a strong, yet delicate figure in my life. She grew up in a broken family, moving around often because her mom could no longer afford where they were living. My mom put up with a lot of crap in our own family over the years, and even though I've seen her cry, I've seen her take care of things and pull through.

That night my mom lay in that hospital bed attached to IVs and propped by pillows, shivering to the bone, no matter how many blankets draped over the bed. I can still picture her lithe 5'6", 105-pound body dwarfed by the cold bed and room. I can remember the blinds slightly ajar, eerie yellow light from the parking lot lamps filtering onto her pale face until they were replaced by the cold, grey light of a chilly December morning, which let an even more ashen aura into the already sickly room. This is the story that I can't get out. What it was like to watch her there, to see her pallid figure, hear her muffled moans and groans, taste the dense, sterile air. This is the fog in the recesses of my soul too heavy for a light breeze to clear. Where's a tornado when you need one?