This weekend has turned into a tougher one than we expected.
Some things you expect will hit hard (anniversaries, holidays, traditions), some just seem to come out of no where for a sucker punch.
Friday I rode along with my Dad to the attorney’s office, which happens to also be a relative. Of course I’m not going to pass up a chance to see where I hope to work one day! Well not THAT office, but with a legal team. We picked up a folder with some of the estate paperwork. Since I just wrapped up a course on wills last semester, I turned to Mom’s will & reread it. She had plenty of time, so she had a basic one drawn up back in August 2011. Everything of course goes to Dad. No dramatic surprises there, but what did kind of hit me was seeing the Death Certificate in the folder right behind it. Just surreal to see the term Death & all my Mom’s information on it. Still really just feels like she is away somewhere visiting family or something.
After the initial shock, I read over it and found the cause of death. “Complications from salivary cancer”, one of those four words I didn’t expect. Salivary? Not really. I mean it started there back in 2000 (or 1999 depending on who you talk to), but as of her last round of tests where she made the decision to stop testing, it was areas in her lungs and brain causing the problems. Salivary just makes it sound so simple. So small. Her illness and death were anything but simple.
Even from the beginning diagnosis of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma we knew it was anything but simple. Even learning the name was an issue. Try being asked what type of cancer your mom has & having people expecting to hear breast or lung and you respond with adenoid cystic carcinoma. The most common reply is “What?” & a strange “are you making this up” look. It wasn’t a common cancer. Mom was always a rare gem. It was not that simple. Clearly they messed up. Checking up online, it seems that ACC is considered a salivary cancer. So I guess technically it is true. Just strange to see it all reduced to 4 words.
Just all feels so diminished.
Like life some how just wants to make it all go quietly away. The vacant gap left from her exit sealing up as if it never happened. Not in my world. Her presence is missed dearly. Watching my Dad deal just hurts. Wishing now more than ever I could pick up my phone & call to talk about it. I may not have always agreed or taken her advice, but it was always there when I wanted to listen to it. And thankfully she cared even those times where I went my own way.
The other hit came in the mail. A normal unassuming envelope brought THE CHECK. Life insurance payment to my Dad. Honestly I don’t really remember seeing a check like that, but it couldn’t begin to cover what she means. No number replaces her. While it is helpful that the insurance policy is there, it again just seems to put it in a single dimensional black and white world instead of the vivid legacy I feel it should be.
So many times I wanted to ask her questions this weekend. So many memories I fear losing. Just feels empty.
Grateful for the time with family right now. Tomorrow I head home, back to classes. Means the world to look forward to coming back here to grieve with Dad & the family. Even if the surprises pop up it feels better to be with others who miss her instead of alone in a world that seems to forget she was a person at all rather than a string of numbers.