This time last year…

Just a warning: this post may be super rambly. I’ve had a bad day and have a ton of thoughts running around in my head.

Most people get excited about summer. The weather is nice, the sun stays out well into the evening, and there are vacations and pool parties and barbecues to look forward to. I used to get excited about those things, too. That changed six years ago after my best friend’s diving accident — she was left paralyzed and now deals with chronic daily pains, both physical and emotional. Ever since that day, the summer has felt ruined and wrong. I remember standing over her bed in the ICU looking at her all wrapped up and broken, and the sun was shining through the window, almost mocking the situation. I clearly thought to myself, How can it possibly be a nice day out today? As time went on I realized that just because my world had changed, the world kept spinning and people went on living their lives.

This time last year is when everything started to spiral out of control with my mom. She was terribly ill but no one knew why. She couldn’t keep any food down and she was losing weight like crazy. There were tests done, there was even talk about ovarian cancer. Her GYN finally admitted her to the hospital to monitor her and run even more tests, and that was when they finally found the cancer. I got a call from her one afternoon at work and all she said to me was, “Well, I have cancer.” I agreed to come over after work to discuss it more and then I went back to my desk to finish my work.

When I saw her that evening, she looked fine. She explained that they were going to treat it aggressively and she told me that she was going to fight. I never asked her if she was scared, not once throughout the entire treatment process. I wish I had. I wish I would have taken the time to really talk to her and find out what was going through her head.

We were supposed to go back to Disney World this summer together. My mother always hated all things Disney. She thought Mickey was terribly annoying, and she loathed the image that the princesses projected about needing to be saved by a man. Donald was her favorite, though, because he was grumpy and always fired up. When I decided I wanted to get married at Disney, my mom was less than thrilled, for many reasons, but she ended up having a fabulous time and even enjoyed meeting all the characters. She had such a great time that she and my dad asked if they could come with us when we went in 2009. The four of us had a wonderful time and it was nice to be able to show them a good time and why we love Disney so much.

My husband and I decided that we wanted to by ourselves last year, since it had been a few years since we had: in 2007 we got married and our families were there, in 2008 we went with my best friend, and then 2009 was the trip with my parents. We wanted to go back to doing Disney our way, on our schedule, without having to worry about anyone else. Of course, this was planned before we knew how sick my mom was. Our trip was already booked when my mom was diagnosed and she insisted that we go and have a good time, even though she was scheduled for her first treatments during the week we were gone. I know hindsight is 20/20, but i beat myself up over (1) going away so soon after she was diagnosed, (2) not inviting them to come, (3) not canceling the trip to spend more time with her, knowing our time was limited. I spoke to her everyday on the phone and I remember one phone call in particular. She was feeling pretty low, I could tell by her voice, and she made a comment about being strong and fighting because she still had things to do, and she specifically mentioned needing to be around to see our house and “your babies.” She never ever mentioned kids to me before that (she never wanted me to feel pressured), so I guess that’s why it stands out so much. For her to say that means that it was really important to her. And now it won’t happen.

We’re not going to Disney this year, for the first time in 8 years. I just can’t bring myself to do it, knowing she should have been there. Even last year wasn’t as enjoyable as it had been in the past because I was so worried about her and what was going to happen. I don’t want to ruin my happy place even further by forcing myself to go while I’m grieving. At the same time, it makes me incredibly sad to know that we’re not going this year and why.

I had a meltdown at work today and had to go to the bathroom so as not to cry at my desk. I was having a rough morning, thinking about all of the above, and then I had to deal with a stupid travel agent who just hit the wrong nerve. I’m tired of having to deal with people who think that they can tal to me however they please and act obnoxiously just because they’re the client. I am not cut out for sales at all. Anyway, I cried uncontrollably in the stall, washed my face, and went back to my desk, but I’ve had a ball of anxiety sitting in my chest all day. And what do I do when get depressed? I eat. I ate FOUR slices of pepperoni pizza for dinner and now i feel sick and absolutely disgusting. I don’t know how to break this emotional eating cycle. I know i need to be stronger and resist the temptation, knowing that food won’t make anything better, but it’s so hard in the middle of the moment when I’m not thinking clearly.

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