Waiting is the absolute worst. Am I right? Waiting at the doctor’s office. Waiting in line at the post office. Waiting on paint to dry. Waiting for Christmas morning when you are under the age of 10, or still now.
We had heard the options. They were terrible at best. Basically, they let us know we are just prolonging death. Without saying death. Apparently, when they checked in and before we got there, my mom had been adamant and explained to everyone there that she just needed to make it to my wedding. I was basically a legend by the time I arrived (and not in a good way). But the possibility of hope, and talk of the wedding helped my mom get through the darkness. I know we almost lost my mom most nights, and somewhere I like to think that in her dreams, the wedding kept her going.
It wasn’t the fact that I was getting congratulated, or people getting excited about talking wedding plans, and checking out my engagement ring. It was that it was a happy distraction for us all. A reason to keep fighting, a reason for the surgery to 1) happen and 2) be successful. It was motivation for EVERYONE.
Any time my mom felt pain, or wasn’t her best self, the nurse would remind her why she was there. To walk her daughter walk down the aisle. To celebrate with the family that was in this room with her. To spend quality time with each one of us for as long as she could.
While we waiting on tests to be run, and whatever else those hospital folks do, we all took turns making the calls to family, friends, and employers. We slowly but surely added people to our waiting club. The calls to clients were easy. I was still freelancing my graphic design services at this point, and I let everyone know I would be out of pocket for an unforeseen time. Luckily, I had backup, and enlisted a few colleagues to help finish projects I knew couldn’t wait. Those calls were the easy ones.
It was the calls to friends to ask them to join the waiting club that were hard. With each call, I took a breath, got through a sentence or two, and then lost it. I was always so strong and had been very logical about everything up to this point that I hadn’t really ever let myself feel those emotions. Friends would remind me that we just needed to be patient and see how the surgery goes. They were hopeful she would make it to the wedding. I reminded them that the doctors weren’t so sure.
A childhood friend reached out when she saw something was amiss on Facebook. I had posted a simple ask on Facebook – for friends to send happy thoughts, prayers, meditations and good vibes our family’s way. I hadn’t posted much detail, because I wasn’t ready, but the support was unconditional. My friend asked what was going on with us, and I slowly began to type back the details. And just like that, she was in the waiting club too.
So here we were, 6 weeks out from my wedding, and my mom was dying. As a person who likes to fix whatever is wrong immediately, waiting is the hardest thing to do.
And I all we could do was wait.