Monday, August 18, 2008

Slice of Life Sunday

This week Slice of Life is asking for 1 of the following themes.

1. A Naughty Moment of My Youth

2. 2 x 4 = 8, the teacher I most appreciate

3. Writer’s Choice - A story about any childhood memory, from earliest to about age 10-11.

This week I am again picking 3.

It is 1977, I am 11 years old and my mother is diagnosed with lung cancer. My parents tell me that my mother has something called tumors on her lungs and they show me the X-ray of where they are. An X-ray. A picture of what looks like nothing is about to change my families life forever. My mother is told that she has 3 months. I am not sure if I am told of the timeline. She lasts 8 months. 8 LOOOOONG months of coughing, comas, cancer, courage, clots, and caring.

I am there when my mother's hair falls out from chemo. I am lying on my belly watching an old Montgomery Ward black and white TV at the foot of her bed. She is sitting up by the pillows. I see her out of the corner of my eye as she pulls hair out of her head. She is holding a few bunches in her hand. She asks me to go downstairs and get her a garbage bag. I head down annoyed that I have to leave the TV.I am not sure what I am watching.

Grabbing a paper bag from Grand Union from under the sink I head back upstairs and hand it to her. We don't say anything. I see her crying in my peripheral vision as she takes hair from head and places it in the bag. I am very aware of what she is doing and I think I sort of know in a way but I am 11 and confused.

It is one of the most profound moments of my life and yet I was like a fly on the wall just watching it, not reacting, not speaking just trying to avoid.


  1. Anonymous9:02 PM

    I don't know what to say Maria - my heart goes out to that 11 year old little girl trying to make sense out of a senseless event in her life. I do understand why you did not react. Sometimes the only thing to do when the world around us is bigger than our understanding is to do nothing. I am very sorry you had to lose your mother at such a young age.

  2. This is a wonderful blog. I came here following a link from

    I wish the font size is a little bigger.

  3. Anonymous5:36 PM

    You were too young to understand and that is probably a good thing for both you and your mother. There is too much pain there for a child to hold it all.

    My mother died of cancer when I was three. She left behind a poem with a line that reads, "Who will love my baby?"


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