Hole in the tent
(Warning: this post contains sad stuff.)
My mom just called me at my office. She had no one to talk to because my dad is playing golf.
Over the past several weeks, Mom has undergone three surgeries for breast cancer. (God, I hate even typing that word. I'm like the character in the film Annie Hall that always whispers the name of ailments too horrible to say out loud.)
Anyway, the news is not good. Eight lymph nodes removed, all of them cancerous. Mom is more than a little freaked out and I'm writing this so that I can maintain my composure at my desk.
When people talk about a loss, they often liken it to a hole, or a void, or an empty space. I feel like there's a hole in my tent.
When I first learned of my mom's testing, I was driving home from work and I put my mind in neutral. I got a flashback of the summer I was nine years old, away at Girl Scout camp.
At camp, I loved the musty smell of the huge canvas tents we stayed in, huge shelters that became a cozy dormitory for eight little girls ready for the adventures of a four day sleepover. The canvas of the tent was so thick and heavy, it could hardly even be called fabric, designed to stave off whatever the extreme Texas weather could dish out. But the tents came with a warning issued by the leaders: Resist the urge to scratch the rough canvas with your poking little fidgety fingernails or you could make a hole. A horrid little hole that would compromise the integrity of the entire structure. Yes, one little hole followed by one good rain and you and your bunkmates would be in a world of trouble, because that huge waterlogged tent would come crashing down on the heads of any girls who made even the tiniest hole in the fabric.
So now I feel like my family has the dreaded little hole in our tent. And it just got bigger. It started out as a tiny pinprick, but the potential for devastation too huge to imagine is there, and we're all just holding our breath and waiting for it. And I just want the hole to get patched up so we can all get to back to having fun.
And I am praying that it's not going to rain.