barn in kansas

I keep trying to figure out which day of the week the crappy news about the Big C all started. Was it Tuesday? And then my parents drove to Dallas on Wednesday? Did they then call on Thursday night to say they wouldn’t be there Friday, but were trying for Saturday? Honestly, it’s so meddled, I have no idea. But, what I do remember is that the week before my family bridal shower, shit went down.

Regardless of what day, or when, this week will go down in memory as the week that changed everything. The course wasn’t as straight as it had been before. It was taking us on a new path. One that we weren’t quite prepared for given the timing of it all.

When I got the call from Dad that they wouldn’t be in Kansas by Friday – whatever day that was – I felt concern creeping in to my thoughts. My positive outlook was under siege by the wave of negative thoughts and feelings.

My understanding at the time of chatting with dad, was that mom needed more tests run, and those had to be done on Friday. Since they couldn’t get results immediately, there was no need to stick around. Following those, they would pack back up, jump in the car, and make the trek to Kansas. The goal was to be there by Saturday.

What was really going on, unbeknownst to us, was that mom’s liver wasn’t functioning, and the doctors were trying to get images of what was causing the malfunction of that necessary organ.

But, to our family, the plan was still: tests on Friday morning, on the road by the afternoon. Ok I thought, we’re still headed to Kansas in the morning, and we’ll see them on Saturday for the bridal shower. Stay the course.

The next morning as we were packing up the car and making Roxy comfortable for the long road ahead, I couldn’t help but notice a feeling hanging around in my gut. Not really a happy feeling, per se, more of a “something’s not right” kind of feeling. But, as far as I knew, tests were being run, and the parents would be on the road soon.

Around noon, I waited for the call. The call from dad (or mom) to tell us they were on their way. Around 1pm, I began to get a little anxious. And not because we were having trouble finding Jesse gluten-free items in the middle-of-nowhere Kansas (although that always pains me!). That little annoying feeling in my gut? Getting bigger. Or maybe that was my hunger!!

As we drove across the plains, my mind wandered. The land seemed to stretch for miles. Little farmhouses and their barns dotted the landscape. Cows and horses roamed within their massive plots of land, and tractors created perfect lines in the crops. Wheat rustled in the wind, creating a mesmerizing view of movement across the expansive earth. Mom was a Kansas girl. She grew up on a farm, just like the ones we were driving by. She loved the land, the view, and the childhood it allowed her to have. It made her who she was. Strong and resilient, caring and nurturing. Flat lands aren’t my thing, but in that moment, I understood why she loved it so much.

All I wanted was for mom to experience the land she loved. I wanted her to get back to the life she led, the friends she adored, and the family she loved.

It was late, and we had been driving for hours. No call from dad, no call from my brother, no communication at all. Something wasn’t right, and it wasn’t just my poor cell reception. We still had a handful of hours to go before we arrived at my aunt and uncle’s house in Kansas. No more negative thoughts. Stay the course.