Worry Wart

recently my doctor found a "growth"... i'm not suppose to worry...as if saying it makes it true. let's face it, i'm my mother's daughter, which means, i'm a "worry wart".

When I was a little girl, too young to go to school, I had my favorite sweater. It was soft and pink with rhinestones scattered all over the front collar, even the buttons had tiny rhinestones in the center. I loved to wear it to Sunday school (the only place I was allowed to wear it). One day Mom told me to get dressed and put my “favorite” sweater on…it wasn’t Sunday, and though I would never question her I thought it was strange. But then what did I care, I was a kid who was going to get to wear her favorite sweater, not on a Sunday, and take a drive with just my Mom…no one else…just me and her.

She put me in the old Ford …I remember the dull black color… the running boards… the leather seats hard as a bench with cracks that scratched the back of my legs when I moved. I was so short in the seat I could barely see outside… tops of trees as we passed, sunlight dappling though the leaves…after a while the car stopped in front of a house I didn’t recognize. My Mom got out of the car and walked over to my side… she opened the door, straightened my clothes, told me that we were going to visit someone…a friend…(friend of the family? …her friend?). I was not to touch anything…not to play …not to talk… not to mess up my clothes.

I remember I walked into a darkened room… there were people, they seemed to all know each other. Voices low and hushed…my mother’s voice added to the mix. I can’t remember …but I felt a politeness, a sadness.. children in a corner…quiet, sad…probably told not to play…not to talk…

My Mom took me outside after awhile and put me back in the car…she walked back to a woman who was standing on the front porch…a few polite words exchanged. Both women looking like they wanted to say more…to do more…to embrace, but an invisible wall stopped them. My Mom could barely look this woman in the eye…head and eye always lowering…her body bowing from the waist as if in some Japanese movie…

Mom came back to the car, started the motor, waved bye to the woman on the porch. Her eyes were looking straight ahead as she drove…she was quiet…so I was quiet…just looking out at the tops of trees and the sunlight now coming through the windows at a lower angle. Mom made a slight turn… my body responding to the centrifugal force…and when I sat back up the light hit just right… and suddenly… magically!!!…there was a million zillion tiny rainbows dancing on the dashboard, the door and my hands as I reached out to catch them…. I dared not to be quiet any longer…”magic” overriding Mom’s “quiet rule” for sure…. “MOMMY…MOMMY…look…look rainbows!!!”. But she didn’t seem to hear me…didn’t seem to see the rainbows…but maybe she did…she was crying…

Years later, through bits and pieces of conversations with her old friends, I found out that that woman on the porch that day long ago was her best friend. She had just been diagnosed with breast cancer… back in those days it was a “death sentence”…what usually happened was the family would “shroud” her away from everyone…talk about dying twice!! First, being treated like a leper by your friends…then watching yourself dying in the eyes of your family.

my husband & I have promised each other that that will never happen to us... we want to talk freely & openly about our mortality & all the phases that may lead to our end. luckily we both have a dark sense of humor.