Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Interviewing my Mother (Draft 2)

        What was it like dying?
As the cancer seared through your body
            Did you still find time to smile?
As your lungs became the battle ground
            Between healthy and mutated cells
Did life still have meaning?

"Radiation, turned my skin red
My beautiful hair, my source of pride,
Finally came out, falling onto my pillow
As if my body itself were weeping

Your aunt came over that day
      Shaving my head, removing my crown
    After all, it was time for wigs

Oh, but I had a smile on my face
when you got off the bus that day
My new crown of glory resting on my head

An unexpected surprised that
wasn’t unexpected, after all

There were five of you, three of blood, two of love,
my beacons of life
You were only newly ripped from the womb,
But in so little time,
you learned the lesson of death
            One that I taught you

But my life had meaning, how could it not?
I had all I wanted in life.
After all, I had you.
            It just wasn’t enough to live for


Dying wasn’t so bad, once you got past the grief
            My body, it ached. Walking became difficult
How could I fight it any longer? My brain turned to mush
            Fleeting memories of better times,
And my body…oh how heavy it felt
            Even after losing my breast
I still felt heavy, as if my bones turned to stone

            But we had fun, despite the war
Raging inside of me. Your grandmother,
            She would stand beside me, inappropriately grabbing my breast
The one that was no longer there
But we all laughed. It was funny, it was naughty
And if we couldn’t poke fun at my situation
I’d be dying in a different way

For two years I fought, and then I was cleared
            I wasn’t dying anymore.
The cells were gone and it was time to recover
            Time to move on

I made jokes, talking about how my new breasts
            Would be bigger than yours
But it wasn’t in my cards. Not for me
            And not for you
My cancer came back
            Or it never did leave
This time though, it perforated my lungs
            My liver, my brain

I would have been on chemo for life
            And radiation for sure
A red, shell of a person is what I would have been
            But I didn’t have it in me, not anymore
The battle became too fierce
            I withered away before your eyes
A rose fighting for life in the warmth of Summer
            While their insides turned to ice

I wish I could say I had a glorious end
            One filled with trumpets and singers
A real menagerie, but it wasn’t
            It was in the living room
Surrounded by my family, but confined to my bed
            Where I found out what it truly was like
To finally be dying
            It was where you found out

What it felt like to die”