Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Last Good Day

I went with a "mommy friend" to see The Fault in Our Stars tonight. My family was waiting when I got home to see if I'd cried. Well of course I did, it was a sad movie. I never try to hide or avoid crying at sad books/movies/TV shows/news stories/commercials. Sad is a relevant and important emotion. When you are sad you cry, enough said. I have had many reasons to be sad this school year (I always keep track of years by school and not calendar). I have been reading some beautiful and sad books that deal with death and aging (check out Carrie Brown, she is such a beautiful "speaks to your heart without being trite" writer).

Caroline and I had finished The Fault in Our Stars right before Mom was diagnosed. In some ways the book helped us deal with it. Mom's cancer journey was different than most you see in movies/TV/books because there really wasn't closure. She fought hard and was going to be angry if we said anything about saying goodbye. When she was in the hospital the last time, the nurses kept telling me to tell her it was ok to let go. There was no way I was going to do that. Do you know how pissed off she would have been?

The movie reminded me of the idea of "the last good day." It is the last clear day in a dying person's life. That brief moment when they are completely themselves again. For me, the last good day was probably Mother's Day. That was the last time we all sat around the table laughing and eating frozen yogurt. It was before the cancer came back with a vengeance, stealing everything my mother had left (dignity, security, hope, clarity) bit by bit. It was the last time she looked at me and said "The doctor doesn't know how strong I am. I can beat this." It was also our last picture. After that, Mom was too tired, sick, and weak to want her picture taken.

I know from experience that the bitterness of sadness eventually mingles with the sweetness of  memories, until you have bittersweet, and until remembering doesn't hurt quite so much. On so many levels, I have lived in such a bitter sweet life, but how lucky I am to have had the sweet.

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