Inside, not even deep down, but really right under the surface of your suddenly tingling skin, you know that this is not true. In fact, there are so many people who care about you and are with you, either physically or in spirit, when you need them, that it's almost a little frightening, not to mention humbling.
My day here in Sweden starts 6 hours before my mom's in Michigan. When my alarm clock goes off at 7 a.m., signaling the start of another working weekday, it is the middle of the night on the other side of the world. I talked to my mom yesterday and she was ready and packed and calm as ever. She had bought a big stack of comic books to take with her to the hospital. Comic books?! I said. Yes, because they are good for making you smile and laugh.
My brother had talked to her earlier and joked with her that since she's already missing her appendix and had her gallbladder removed years ago, that there won't be anything left after the hysterectomy; just lungs and a heart. Granted, her heart is big enough to fill any suddenly empty body cavity, but still: HOLLOW. Ha! she said. I'll still have my bladder. And my intestines and my stomach, so there.
All this day, I was basically sleepwalking through my life. Sleepwalking through the alarm, showering, dressing, drying my hair. I drove to work on automatic pilot and through most of my day as well. Her surgery was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and I knew there was no need for me to call when it was finally morning in Michigan, my early afternoon here after an already endless day, so I waited until I got home and called my sister. Any news? I asked. Not yet, she said. Then we both made GAAH noises and finally hung up.
I couldn't just pace the house so I went for a walk around the brilliantly lit village, bathed in evening sunshine and birdsong. I imagine blackbirds sound like what happiness would sound like, if it had wings and could sing. A little girl with long yellow hair and long slim legs came running toward me with a huge black poodle on a leash. They stopped suddenly, looked at me approaching and then turned and dashed the other way. I laughed to see them run, they looked so free and so young. The dog didn't pull the girl, they were running together, obviously for the joy of it. Then they came to a halt near the pear trees and turned around to run back again; she was grinning and I think the dog was, too.
My sister called back before I returned, and talked to Anders. He gave her my ETA and she called back about 15 minutes after I walked in the door, buzzing with adrenaline and restlessness. Mom's fine, she came through the surgery with flying colors. I haven't talked to her yet, since she was still in the operating room with the oncologist or urologist or whatever he was, but the surgeon told my uncle she met every one of the high expectations they had set for the surgery. We won't know for a few days the rest of the news, since more biopsies have been taken but so far, so good.
I couldn't write about this before, I was too freaked out. Completely and suddenly devastated at the thought of something happening to my mom. The cyst on her ovary, you see, wasn't cancerous at all. But the biopsies done before the surgery came back positive for uterine cancer. So, the extra doctors were there to check her lymph nodes and take more samples, and even though much of the danger zone has now been removed, she's not out of the woods yet.
If I wasn't already aware of it, I would certainly be now: how much I am loved and how much my mom is, by friends, by family, by kindred spirits that neither one of us has even met. The globe has been wrapped in a glow of loving light all day and that is what got me through it. I've had emails and messages and phone calls and there is no doubt. I am not alone. And even though I am far away, much farther than I would prefer given the circumstances, I know that my mom isn't alone either, and that she will be okay. How could she be otherwise? So far, so good.
Edited to add: If anyone would like to send a card to my mom, please email me at lizardek a t yahoo .co m and I will send you her address.