My mom found out she had Breast Cancer when I was a senior in high school.
We had gotten home from school one day and were sitting in the family room- lounged across the couch and the floor with the TV on. My mom sat on the fireplace facing us and very non-chalantly told us that she had something to tell us- with a precursor that it was "no big deal."
I don't remember much more about that day- only going down to my room and sitting on my bed and feeling something that made it so I couldn't talk and couldn't think.
I never remember it being a foreign subject- or a negative subject in my house after that- just something that was going on. I remember my mom beginning to lose her hair and saying that her head itched. She found me one day and told me that I could cut her hair any way that I wanted. We went into her bathroom and I chose a bob. I always thought my mom would look cute with a bob, and she totally did. I cut her hair and we laughed and took lots of pictures. Within the next couple-ish weeks, she shaved her head. My brother Cody and I drove home from school every day wondering if my mom had done it or not. I remember being really really nervous every time we were driving home and about to open the front door. One day we got home and my mom was sitting on her computer with a black hat on. She showed us her head (and we probably felt it) and she wore a wig (sometimes) after that.
I've thought about this the last couple of days- and am amazed (and a little surprised) that most of the memories I come up with were about my mom's hair. And I attribute that to a mom who somehow made good memories out of something that was truly horrible. I never doubt that my mom had moments of pure desperation or days of worry. I'm sure she probably had lots of sleepless nights and some moments of panic. Lots of time was probably spent wondering "what if," and many days spent in exhaustion and weakness. But this I am grateful for:
1. A mom who precedes everything hard with "don't worry"
2. A mom who laughed at her bald head
3. A mom who let me cut her hair and her wig, because she knew those were the memories I needed
4. Family and friends who cleaned our house and made us meals
6. Modern Medicine
7. Doctors and nurses who became my mom's friends
8. A mom who brought me lunch to school without a wig on
(though I may not have been grateful for that at the time. ha.)