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Archive for June, 2018

It’s been a long time since I’ve written and shared, and the reason is a common one: a lot has happened, and it hasn’t been good. I’m in the middle of the healing process, and writing AND sharing will have to be one of my medicines. Sharing is key. I cannot exist in a bubble because isolation can become a dangerous symptom for me.

One thing I ask now of you, my readers, is that you consider purchasing my first memoir, What Doesn’t Kill Us, from Amazon, for yourself or for someone who might find a connection to it (a cancer patient or survivor, or someone who has experienced intergenerational trauma, for example), and if you read it, please leave feedback on Amazon or Goodreads. This will help encourage me in continuing to write my second memoir.

So here’s the beginning of the draft of my second memoir, a peek into what I’ve been working on. Please be gentle.

***

It’s 3 am west coast time, 6 am east coast time, and I’m in-between at 5 am in the air. It’s dark with a hint of gauze. I need to get some sleep, or I’ll be having a seizure at the most inconvenient time—not that there’s ever a convenient time for your brain to decide that it’s time for a rave. Dad has been admitted to the cancer ward at the VA hospital. I just can’t sleep. So this is what it’s like to be on the other side.

***

Driving with Mom in the car. For two hours. Each way. She talks nonstop. It’s not like she has a ton of content. Rather, it’s that she pushes the same buttons over and over and motherfucking over again. For two interminable hours. She’s talking so much that she gets us lost. She’s been telling me this whole time that she knew for sure where to go. We ended up at a 7Eleven across from a barn because I figured that just maybe there might be cell service and wifi here in this spot in the middle of nowhere, and I was right. I plugged the Lebanon VA Medical Center into Google Maps, memorized the directions, and took a screencap just in case. And I told Mom to refrain from giving me anymore directions. She hasn’t.

We pull into the parking lot. Do all VA hospitals look the same? Some drab muted shade of gray against brick. It’s all so depressing. As it should be, I guess.

Mom and I step inside and keep going down the narrow hallway to the elevator. Fourth floor—Camp Courage. I wonder what the other floors are called, or if the cancer ward is the only one that got stamped with a moniker straight out of the boy scout’s handbook.

“Hi, we’re looking for Walter Worrall. I’m his daughter, and this is my mom,” I say to the nurse.

She smiles and tells us to go down the hall to room 421. Mom and I find Dad’s room, but he’s not there.

“Can I help you ladies?” The man sitting in a wheelchair in the hallway is watching us. How long has he been sitting here, just waiting for something, anything to happen?

“We’re looking for my dad, Walt.”

“He’s in the lounge. You go around the desk, and you’ll see it. They have cookies and coffee in there.”

“Awesome! Thanks for the tip. Nice to meet you,” I say. “Come on, Mom. Dad’s down there.” I hold onto her arm and lead the way.

Sure enough, there’s Dad, laughing with his new buddies.

“Hey, Dad, are you behaving yourself?”

He gets up out of his chair and gives me a hug. Even though he’s still softly plump, I can feel how frail he is.

He introduces me and Mom to his two friends. “Man, listen, this is my daughter Brandy.” The guys nod and smile. Dad continues, “She’s been through the shit too. She had breast cancer.” The guys give sympathetic looks. “But she lives in Canada. So she got big tits out of it for free.” Dad bursts out laughing.

Oh my god. Well, he said it. I laugh too. The guys look super uncomfortable, which makes me and Dad laugh harder. Mom laughs too, though I’m pretty certain she has no idea why she’s laughing. So the guys finally join in, while trying very hard not to look at my boobs. Welcome to Camp Courage.

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