My heart is so fractured, so splintered apart, it feels like it’s a foreign object in my chest and it’s cutting into every other organ inside of me. Sometimes I wish I could just rip it out of my chest. It feels like all of the hope, all of the “positive thinking”, all of the good deeds, always trying to do the right thing, all of the everything, was for nothing?

I miss you more deeply today than I did when you died. This winter has been a mirror reflection of my feelings; an endless cycle of coldness and iciness. It is like my soul. On top of that, the physical truth is that we have been pretty much locked in – for a long time. Chrissy and I talk about how much you would have hated it. It is not helping (and let’s just call a spade a spade here) my depression one bit. I find myself just getting through each day rather than actually being alive in it. It’s’ even more depressing because I know better. I now that this is not a dress rehearsal and all of the bullshit but, does everything have to be so fucking hard?

I think it’s pretty clear that I am in pity party mode right now. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s just the winter (although that’s clearly not helping). No, I think it more likely has to do with the other close family member who is very sick and just diagnosed with breast cancer – triple negative, to boot! On top of that, we lost that account, that was completely undeserved and was for political reasons (dirty, if you ask me – although, of course, that’s only my opinion), missing my Chief Brody. I can’t believe that it is almost exactly a year since he is gone. Add that to the constant pain from the wounds in this weather and, voila, you have a hopeless, depressed, pitiful daughter.

The hardest thing now is that I get through the days alright but, although I fall asleep okay, the dreams have just been horrible, and unrelenting. I know enough (kind of) to now that they are not premonitions (I have not been blessed/cursed with that gift) but, either way it doesn’t hurt any less. Especially since they are so vivid and the kind that a) you remember in the morning and b) even if you wake up, the dream will just continue when you fall back asleep.
You are there – every night. You are not there, however, to comfort me. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. You are always very angry with me. For infractions ranging from as innocuous as dropping a glass to as serious as driving like a lunatic in your car. What makes you the angriest is if I have a “bad” attitude. As if I would have a bad attitude, even for a second, if you were to somehow make your way back to me. At least, these were the reasons you were “angry” or “disapproving” of everything I did in these dreams until last night.

Last night was the kicker. Really brutal. Our saving grace since your death was that we were so grateful that you didn’t have to die a long, drawn out “cancer death”. But, in the dream last night, you were questioning me, angrily, as to we would let you die. Why would we ever have thought that you wouldn’t want to be saved so that you could live longer, even if it was in pain and filled with fear? In typical dream fashion, it was very important for you to tell me that you wanted to get your nails done again with the sparkles I always wear on one finger on each hand.

Suddenly, the dream shifted. As if what I was dreaming wasn’t bad enough. Now, I am pregnant and had just been told that my cancer had returned and nothing could be done to save me. Then I was writing (because it’s what I do, I suppose). I was writing a letter to my unborn child and telling them how sorry I was that I wouldn’t be there for them. I told them that I would love them, and be with them, always. You see, somehow I knew that if I didn’t die as soon as the baby was born, it would be very shortly after. I remember feeling rushed. I also remember feeling heartbroken knowing that I would never have enough time to make a video for the each holiday, birthday, the first day of school, their graduation, wedding day, first child, etc. I know that many people do this now when they are told they have a terminal illness but, have some time. I knew, in my dream, that I would never have enough time for that.

I’m so frustrated. I felt like I was getting to be in a good place. I was finally able to imagine a life beyond the horizon. I felt, if not positive, fairly certain that I would be here for all of my boys’ important life events. I also began to not fear that every ache and pain was not a recurrence but, just that – an ache or pain. Now, I find myself playing the mind games that I used to play. Is that lump under my arm just the way my arm is configured now because of the loss of some lymph nodes or is it a lymph node that was left that is now filled with cancer? (I’ve had that looked at – back before I was feeling more stable, at least 10 times and was assured it was just my armpit). Are the nightmares a symptom of the cancer, recurring in my brain? Is every stomach ache stomach/bowel/intestinal cancer? Is the mole I’ve always had, and that I have checked, somehow not a freckle and is, in fact, melanoma? Is the crushing pain on my chest, just pressure from the scar tissue where my wounds were or am I having a heart attack? See, my cancer was on the left side so a lot of the long term symptoms from surgery and radiation can mimic heart issues, which necessitates me seeing a cardiologist every two years. And finally, when all of these “racing thoughts” run through my mind at the same time, and my heart starts to beat frantically and I feel like I could pass out, is it just an anxiety attack or a heart attack?

As it is, I see my oncologist twice a year, my family doctor once or twice a month (he handles my chronic pain and my routine blood work), and my cardiologist every two years (for reasons listed above). I’m even diligent about getting my teeth checked and cleaned twice a year and an eye exam once a year. I guess it looks like I will have to once more add a therapist to that list. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. I will look for a therapist that specializes in grief counseling. It’s a lot, along with owning a business, taking care of two teenagers and managing our properties. But, if I am not here because I neglect my health (physical and mental), then, I won’t be able to do any of those things, will I? I sometimes feel like a rat on a wheel. Where am I going?

I’m mourning the loss of you so deeply, mommy. Every day I wonder if I can overcome the physical pain and get through it. Now, it takes me half an hour or so to calm down from the vivid nightmares. Please, mommy, if there is anything you can do to help heal my heart, and my spirit, please help me. I have always taken comfort in the time spent with family and friends but, lately, I don’t have the emotional energy to do either.

Mommy, I know that everyone says that I wasn’t there when you passed away because you didn’t want me to be there. I know that the doctor told me not to come home from California because you were just dehydrated and I was coming home the next day, anyway. I was supposed to meet him in your hospital room the following day to come up with an action plan. Mostly, though, I know in my heart that the main reason I didn’t rush home when you were admitted is because I didn’t want to worry the boys but I am so sorry, every day, that I wasn’t there. I was always there and, for the most important time, when it really counted, I wasn’t there for you. I wasn’t able to feel your warm hands or to tell you one more time that I love you more than anything. I wasn’t there to thank you for all that you sacrificed for me, for the perfect (yes, perfect) way that you loved me .I wasn’t able to tell you that I understood any and every mistake that you may have made with regard to the early years (the divorce, etc.). I would give anything to have been able to tell you that I had no unresolved issues with you, whether you thought so or not. But, most of all, I wish I could have stroked your hair, and your face, while telling you “it’s ok”, “it will all be ok”, like you did for me so many times. So very many times.

I hate that I wasn’t there and I really don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forgive myself as much as I may have said I did, told myself I did and was starting to believe I did. And, the insult to the injury is that you passed away just as I landed and could have made it to you in forty minutes. That just seems so unfair. So very, very unfair.
Please help me, Mommy. Help me to forgive myself. I think that if I can finally do that, I can finally start to really heal.