I Made Pictures in My Mind to Remember You

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Caution: This post may make you cry. But it may not. It made me cry writing it. So read at your own risk that you may or may not cry. And I promise I tried to put some humor in it. Whether or not you laugh is up to you. So really, you could laugh AND cry. Or neither. The choice is yours, really.

You may have been wondering why I disappeared for a week of guest posters in March. Or why I’ve not been quite as socially active. Or why my posts are lacking that special oomph that makes me me. This is why.

In August of last year, we received a devastating blow. Brian’s mom, who was the nicest and most wonderful lady in the whole world, without a mean bone in her body, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. In layman’s terms, she had a non-smoker’s lung cancer that had already spread.

Until February, she fought and fought and fought. And we both (she and I) believed that she would fight it, kill it, and stomp on its grave. That stupid cancer. We spent a lot of time talking about how she was going to make this cancer wish it had never paid her a visit. She was strong. But February came, and reality set it.

The cancer was taking over.

Cancer. Was. Taking. Over.

On March 23, the world lost a fine lady, and Heaven gained an angel. It sucks. Cancer sucks.

But I am lucky. Lucky that I knew her. Lucky that I spent as much time as I did with her. For a while we were spending most of our weekends with Mom. And while there may not be a lot of photographic evidence, I have pictures in my mind. Lots of them. Sweet ones and funny ones. And those will live on forever. I am lucky.

But I’m still sad. And while she wasn’t my own mom, she was family. And I loved her.

One of the best pictures, though, is not a picture in my mind. It’s a real picture. After surgery, she couldn’t walk very well, but I promised to take her to the grocery store. I promised to teach her how to ride the driving cart at the store. Surprised that I knew how to maneuver it so well (Thanks to my Mom, my Gram, and my own silly injuries), she became less reluctant to try it out (Because she didn’t see me almost get hit by a car on my way into the parking lot) and she was ready for it. If I could do it, so could she.

So we had a grocery adventure, Brian’s mom and I. Just the two of us.

Driving like a rock star. She had a great teacher, you know...

And then we had more driving cart adventures. Because we could. But those are all brain pictures. And not real pictures. Lucky for me, I’ve got a pretty colorful brain.

Blog Friends, tell us about someone you love. Tell us a memory. Tell us about a picture in your brain.

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12 Responses

  1. So sorry for your loss…It is never easy. You were lucky you were able to say your good-byes and preserve some mental pictures as well as “real” photographies (btw, She looks amazing on the photo! Very strong, warm person). My grandmother is fighting off cancer and sometimes I think she, or the closest family involved, can’t do it anymore. Its so hard, maybe not even physically, but also mentally.
    People who have had to cope with cancer are real heroes!

    1. Thank you so much. She was SO strong. And had the kindest heart. It makes me sad to hear about anyone who is sick or has cancer. It’s hard on the people who are sick, and it’s hard on everyone else, as well. It helps to have a strong support system. I hope that your grandmother does not have to suffer. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

      1. Thanks so much, praying and trying to bring back some good memories are the only things we can do sometimes…But it does help!
        My condolences to you and your husband.

  2. Thank you for writing this, you are not alone! It doesn’t get better, but it gets easier.
    We lost my mother-in-law in 2009 to Breast Cancer. She was “mom” for me for 30 years, and I was present at her last word and breath. We were the only two females in the sea of testosterone that is the Johnson Family, and our knowing looks and side comments made us comrades in this adventure called life. I have more brain pictures than I can count, and view the slideshow almost daily even now, but remember the feelings even more vividly. Celebrate that daily, not the cancer battle, because the cancer battle is only her last, not her most inspiring.

    1. Thank you. I’m sorry about your mother-in-law as well. It’s never easy. It’s been a difficult year for us, but I know that I will always have so many wonderful memories to share. She was extraordinary.

  3. She looks really happy in that picture. It must have felt really good to her to go out and do something normal like grocery shopping, and to have someone show her how to use that cart. She was lucky to have you in her life and I know you were lucky to have her in yours.

    Sending you a Care Bear stare filled with rainbows, hearts, hugs, wine, and cheese.

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