Thursday, June 10, 2010

D Day Minus 212 (August 8, 2009)

You stayed in bed watching the History Channel and Food TV. You said you almost felt human again and expected to feel a lot better. The sparkle of your eyes was coming back especially when you talked about starting your new job at Wegmans. Katie was at her house sleeping -- exhausted from working all night. Dad promised to be your nurse and get whatever you needed while Morgan and I went to Tyson's Corner.

Morgan and I were celebrating her big loss -- a loss of fifty pounds -- thanks to Tony Horton and P90x. She wanted to mark the occasion with a new pair of jeans -- her first pair in five years. We walked all over the mall, through Macy's all the way to Old Navy. We even passed where the the Rainforest Cafe used to be and talked about birthday celebrations of the past. Once we made it to Old Navy, Morgan found some jeans she liked. Morgan, our family photographer, took a picture of herself wearing them in the dressing room with her phone looking very buff and lean. I'm pretty sure she sent it to you too. I was so happy Morgan was finding her way.

Morgan and I talked about the lessons she was learning after being on her own in Roanoke. We also talked about you and how you never learn lessons the easy way. But eventually you learned. We laughed about you getting your license taken away and you driving like a grandpa and how you used to diss us whenever you had a new girlfriend. Morgan and I agreed that this time around with Katie felt different - more grounded. The one upside of your cancer was the clarity to focus on what really matters.

Morgan's feet hurt so we stopped in front of Ambercombie and Fitch because there was an empty bench.

"Remember how Greg would only get his clothes from Ambercrombie or the Gap." Morgan said.

"Yeah, now he wears clothes from Target and Walmart." I said. "Things really do change when you have to pay for rent and living expenses."

Morgan took my hand and we got into the rhythm of people watching: high schoolers worried about fitting in, soccer parents fighting with kids, and the richy rich twenty and thirty something women flaunting their interpretation of mall fashion on the catwalk.

"Remember that Halloween, when you and Dad were gone for the weekend looking at houses in New York." Morgan said, staring at her reflection in the window that showcased posters of pubescent boys and girls with come hither looks. She told me how you and Katie decided to get drunk, while she was cutting her arms and legs in her room. I would have killed you, if I'd known you were going to be stupid especially since I trusted you with Morgan. I sighed, thankful neither you or Morgan were teens anymore.

"Katie howled at the moon." Morgan said. "And blood was starting to gush out of cuts, so I went in the bathroom to try and stop it. I didn't mean to cut so deep, but I felt so alone. I was really scared so I banged on Greg's bedroom door. Greg and Katie were laughing and laughing, while I was dying. He was so oblivious. And so was Katie."

Memories of Morgan's depression came back like a torrential storm. I knew then that her depression and cutting were my training wheels for dealing with your cancer. I didn't say anything as we sat there. I learned through a lot of trial and error that I only had to listen -- anything I could say would only diminish her feelings and experience. I did keep cleaning Hooponopono style and kept saying to myself: "I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you."

"Greg sobered up fast when he saw all the blood." Morgan said. "He sat next to me leaning against the tub, wreaking of alcohol. He said he loved me and was sorry. And that he would always have my back."

We sat there, silent in our thoughts, holding hands so tight my fingers lost circulation. I finally broke the silence and asked. "And has he?"

"Yes." Morgan said quietly. "He's had my back since.

As we walked through the mall back to the car, I played what's worse in my mind - knowing or not knowing, deadly accidents or terminal diseases, cancer or depression, paper or plastic, life or death - and came came up with a draw. At the vending machine in the parking lot, I bought a Diet Coke (which I know you'd give me crap for) and let Morgan take the curse off. Then, I promised myself to do the one thing I could do -- love my two babies unconditionally through the good, the bad, and the ugly.

1 comment:

  1. very good. and like we say don't ever say "my kids would never do that." love you so much.