edison: digression

(this is where i digress.  because the story is no longer about edison.) 

in retrospect, i really think we made the best of it.  mom was really sick, and in the back of our minds we did fear the worst.  but we kept in good spirits, avoiding thoughts of the inevitable, hopeful until the end.  for the next six months or so, during the weekdays when my dad worked, i became my mother's caretaker.  we made it fun, and saw it as a good excuse to hang out together. 

i had just been notified that i'd gotten a big painting commission for a new portland hotel, and was knee deep in an illustration job for national parks.  my mom had just converted her dining room into a studio that opened to the living room, so conveniently, i could do my work there.  every morning i would hop in my little pickup and drive the half hour commute to camas, there to wake her by eleven. i could tell by the way she looked when slept that things weren't right, but i blocked it out in order to stay on the bright side.  i can heal her with love and joy.  we would sip tea and eat lunch, watch what not to wear or the rock of love, laughing over how ridiculous it all was: scantily clad ladies pulling each other's hair with boobs flying, wardrobes all too full of sweatpants that should never see the light of day.  comic relief.  as i worked on paintings she would lightly doze. when she awoke, she'd check my progress and give me pointers.  darker darks, lighter lights, she'd say.   i would make the most delicious and nutritious dinner, and have it ready before dad came home.  i can heal her with food, with the power of nature. sometimes i would stay and eat, sometimes not.  on some days, i took mom to her appointments, we drove through fields and wetlands, past the old airport, into the strip-mall sprawl, to a room filled with plush recliners and sick people and iv's that administered hope.  ours was experimental, a last resort.  mom's nurses loved her the best, they swarmed around her and would giggle and make jokes, she'd ask sincerely about their kids and they would gushingly and tell stories.  one day, i remember mom wore two different earrings, the nurse pointed it out, oh my goodness, how embarrassing, we all laughed our butts off, always a lady she was with her enduring sense of vanity, even when it should no longer apply.

and then the rest of the time, i would try desperately to construct a facade of normal life:  go out with friends, go to art shows, play music with the band, try to be happy. etc. etc.  what i realize now is:  cancer is common.  dealing with cancer is common.  almost everyone has to do it, in some capacity.  it is normal.  

reflecting upon my entire life, i remember those six months the clearest, like the climax to a movie that plays over and over in my head.   a culmination.

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