It’s Just Not Fair

This posting took me a while because I have been fighting it.  I haven’t wanted to write it but it won’t leave me alone.  I guess it just has to be written.

Life isn’t fair.  Cancer isn’t fair.  Murder isn’t fair.  The last 34 years of my Mom’s life wasn’t fair.  I know that sounds like a pity party but sometimes you just have to go there.  You have to just feel the unfairness and the injustice like an emotion.   The acknowledgment and acceptance of this reality can help to move you forward as long as you don’t stay in the pity party.  Acknowledge and move on – that’s the hard part.

I don’t know much about the first 34 years of my Mom’s life.  I know different jobs that she did and a few places that she lived and that she had early aspirations to be a teacher.  I also know that she really wanted to get married and have children.  Her dreams came true when she met my Dad at about 30.  And then it was taken away by murder.  I honestly don’t have the words for the injustice that she suffered that day and in the days that followed.  I’m overwhelmed by it all.  I know that she really didn’t understand why.  I didn’t hear her come out and say, “Why me?” Or, “This isn’t fair.”  Or pout.  But I know she thought it.  It’s natural.  How do you not feel cheated when you feel like you have entered the perfect life only to have it ripped from you after only 3 years?  When you are suddenly raising 2 children in a situation you never could have imagined?

Mom made a life for us and her but I don’t think that anyone will deny that she lived in the shadow of her dream.  She fought it every day.  She forced herself out of bed and made breakfast plans at a restaurant nearly every day to be sure that she kept to a routine.  She did her best to keep herself distracted by reading the paper, watching tv, going out for coffee with friends.  She just couldn’t bear to think about what might have been or what was.  This was pretty well hidden to most behind humor or small talk.  She also relied on her faith to keep her going.  I have found many writings of hers trying to make sense of her life.

According to what we are now discovering it’s quite amazing that it took over 30 years for the cancer to come.  Research is beginning to connect trauma with cancer, as well as many auto-immune diseases.  It is believed that extreme physical or mental trauma causes such a shock to the body that it lowers the immune system enough for cancer or other diseases to take hold.  For my Mom she also had an extreme chemical and hormonal imbalance at the time of my Dad’s death which made everything so much worse.  When you have already survived a trauma the prospect of cancer just adds insult to injury.

So as I watched my Mother suffer for 18 months the unfairness of the situation was ever present for me.  It was what kept me going back when I thought I had given everything I had to give.  It was what gave me the strength to confront doctors and nurses.   I couldn’t change the fact that she was suffering and dying but I could do my best to lessen her suffering and help her die with dignity.  I know that God always has a plan and a path for each of us.  And I know that it isn’t always for us to understand that plan; but speaking as a daughter who watched her Mom suffer most of my life I just wish that for her sake she could have gone quickly with a heart attack or a car accident.  I hate that she had to suffer for us to have that time with her.  It feels incredibly selfish.  Watching my Mother slowly starve to death over the course of 6 weeks knowing that there was nothing I could do but sit, watch and listen will never leave me.  Intellectually I know that it is an experience that I need for whatever is ahead of me in life.  No experience goes to waste.  But this one I think I would have preferred to go without.

It’s just not fair.  I guess this is where I’m supposed to move on…

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