Interviewing my Mother (Draft 3)
It is easy to get caught-up in life
Easy to look up at the sky
and forget to count the stars
Instead letting them rotate around you
Making their mark in the sky
While you head inside because it's too cold
It is easy to forget the little things in life
Like asking how someone's day was
and genuinely caring about the answer
it's easy to take what you have for granted
I didn't want to do that anymore
So I started asking questions
"What was my mom like before?"
My Uncle John, he would look down and smile
thinking of better times when
He's be over with my Aunt Kacie
Riding around on our quads in the backyard
my mom on hers and he on my step-dads
Our frontyard was large enough
We had fifteen acres of farmland
His sister's dream come true
They'd stay out late by the bonfire
Listening to the knickering of horses
The baying of the goats
The fluttering of the chickens
All my mother's children
And his nieces and nephews
Asking my aunt what her favorite memory was
Was asking a lot
How could she pick one?
When they were all so great?
"There was that one time
when your Aunt Chrissy was having her bridal shower
it was boring and filled with kids
so we ditched it and went out bar-hopping instead.
Your mother was a fierce soul. She packed fury behind her punch.
She was a mother cub in every sense of the word
One wrong word about you or anyone in the family
and someone earned themselves two black eyes
but she would do anything for anyone
even if she cared not for them
stereotypical to say, but it was true. I went with her
quite a few times. Driving two plus hours
to help rescue animals from a shelter. Your mother was an animal-lover
always filling the house with new furry friends.
Crying whenever she went inside the shelter
seeing how badly treated the animals were.
If she had had the room, you would have had a whole zoo
staying at your place. It breaks my heart knowing
she'll never have a chance to fight your Aunt Chrissy
for a chance to watch your cousin Jace."
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”