|If there was one thing I should have known, it was that every moment counted. I should have known that life is too precious to let go of. I should have known that anything can change in the blink of an eye. I should have realized that absolutely nothing was more important than spending time with my mother, as she lay in the hospital bed, in misery and pain, while a doctor pushed another needle into her pale skin. They were reaching out for a miracle, a miracle that wouldn't come. Didn't they realize? There was no cure for this, for God's sake! They hadn't spotted it soon enough. For me, hope was lost the moment my dad said to me with tear-filled eyes on that brisk March evening, "your mother has lung cancer."
I blinked as he said that. What? Shouldn't they have been able to catch this sooner? The minute it was in her system? But surprisingly, I was numb. Remember that word. Numb.
I didn't cry, I wasn't angry. I didn't feel anything, actually. My brother cried, hugging my dad in despair. I sat there, gave them one look, then got up and went to my room. I thought about it for a little while. Cancer, huh? I always heard about it, felt bad, but never had it hit close to home like this. I wanted to feel something, believe me. I could hear them talking in the next room over. "Your sister just doesn't understand. She's too young. Selfish, too." How dare my father say this? How dare he assume that just because I did not show my emotions, I did not have any? I was angry at this. I understood just fine. As I listened further, I heard them speak of hope. That's one thing that I did not have at this point. For the doctors to have JUST spotted the cancer now, meant they had spotted it late. Too late.
The months following were pure hell for me. I was pushed around, threatened. I was a slave. My dad made me clean every day, made me take care of everything, made me cook(when he knew I could hardly do so). I was treated as though I was inferior. Every night, I would hear my brother and father talking about me, saying I was immature. They would say that my best friend, the only person I actually HAD, was a bad influence on me, when actually, without her, I would have given up completely.
I gave up my education, missing school every other day to take care of my mom, while my brother played video games in his room. I gave up my social life, lost my friends(except my aforementioned best friend). I lost a great deal of my health, lack of sleep took it's toll. My mom was in the hospital every week, sometimes every other day, until eventually, she was admitted. She went from the hospital, to a rehab center, back to the hospital. She couldn't walk, so when we visited her, she was moved to a wheelchair and we moved her around like that. It was a sad time. It hurt seeing my usually fierce mother so weak.
Then, a small miracle came through, my dad believed that the hospitals weren't helping, so we ordered all of the equipment, the hospital bed, the oxygen tanks, IV tubes, all of that, and we were going to bring her home. It was set up and everything. We went to bed that night, somewhat happy. My mother was coming home. It was going to be alright. We would be a family again.
May 24, 2012, 5:00AM. My father punched my door, I woke up lazily, thinking I was late to school. Then, through what sounded like choking, my dad sobbed, "It's your mother." I lay there. Paralyzed. I listened some more as my dad bounded down the stairs and I heard him scream, "Dammit! She was gonna get better! I was gonna make her better. How could you do this?" He screamed it to no one, really. Ten minutes of agonizing sobs and punching of walls ensued. After that, it got quiet, other than muffled sobs from my brothers room. I didn't cry. Not initially, at least.
I was numb.
Two hours of me sitting there in the pitch blackness of my room and then I rolled out of bed, grabbed my phone, and called our school to excuse our absence for the day. It seems like a stupid thing, right? But, whenever we had to be absent, my mom would always call and explain why we weren't going to be there. And I knew no one else would have done it. My older brother spent the rest of the day "babysitting" us. He took off from work and sat with my brother for the majority of the day, occasionally checking in on me.
Not that I needed it.
The only thing I could think of that entire day, was the fact that I hadn't told my mother that I loved her, the last time we visited her. My dad told me to, and so did my brother. But I didn't. I couldn't get the words out, so I just left, thinking I'd see her again the next time.
If there was one thing I should have known, it was that things can change in the blink of an eye. And that every moment counts, even if it's just the moment when you say, "I love you."