A couple days ago, my mom pulled me aside in her kitchen. The terracotta walls, the six-flame stove, and the mahogany wood cupboards have become the joy of her redesigned life. She had a metaphysical experience —complete with eyes-closed oooh-ing— when she saw three trashcans built into the bottom shelves. With her soft hand resting on my arm she told me that doctors found a lump on her thyroid last week.
Suddenly the terracotta walls started closing in on me.
She explained that doctors are doing everything they can to monitor her situation because of her pockmarked history with cancer. This Friday, she said in her soothing voice, I’m going for a biopsy. Just like that. As if she had just told me her manicurist was going to remove a hangnail.
I felt like I was sucker-punched in my much too soft belly.
You see, me and Cancer have danced before and I hate him. He steps on my toes, has sweaty palms, and breath that could wake the dead. I recoil when he pushes his body into mine and become desperate to get away. I want to tell him my dance card is full. And my mom’s? It’s full too, so feel free to check back never.
I’m writing this today because if you could say a prayer for my mom tomorrow, I’d appreciate it. I believe in prayer. Because, really, a few years ago doctors told my family to make funeral arrangements for my mom, but prayer changed things. Sitting in church last night with my mom, I placed my shaking hand on her throat. I couldn’t bring myself to utter any words, but my fingers felt her pulse just between her clavicle. Hey, God, just in case I wasn’t clear enough, my fingers are touching what needs to be healed. If you could kinda pull through again for my mom, I’d totally owe you one. Seriously. Cancer likes to dance Polka, and my mom’s into Salsa. They’re a bad fit, so if you could change the music, we’d appreciate it.