This particular post isn’t about Loving São Paulo, but that’s ok, because the Blog is about me. It is about my life, my feelings and my interpretations.
There is an organization in Sweden called “Ung Cancer” (literally Young Cancer), it’s for young people who have lived or are living through cancer. I liked them on FB for support, but also because I have lived through it myself. Today I read a story told by a 22-year-old who found out she had cancer five days after giving birth. She was then 21. So yeah, fuck cancer.
Up until I was 11 years old I had an obsessive fear of my parents leaving each other. I can’t explain where this fear came from and my father once told me that it was hard for them to have simple discussions with me around because I would literally panic and ask if they were getting a divorce. My parents were happy, they didn’t fight and I have absolutely no idea where this fear came from.
By 1990 this fear was gone. But who would have thought it would be replaced by the fear of losing mum forever. Death had never crossed my mind.
I was 11 when my sister and I were told that mom had been diagnosed with lung cancer. We were living in Portugal but went back to Sweden for moms treatment. I was sure it would be a phase, and soon she would be back to normal. I say normal because the mom I saw from this time onwards was not my beautiful mother. It was a scary mom. She cut her hair short to avoid losing chunks of it. Her hair color went from blonde to gray, as did her skin. Her lips were oddly red, yet pale. They were wrinkly and dry. Her voice changed and she developed an absent look. Mom was known for her beauty, both as a person and for her looks. But I could no longer see past the cancer, she had turned into a ghost. She scared me.
I hated being at home and I felt bad about being scared of her. When I came home from school the first thing I would do was look for buckets. I would peek as I passed one to get an idea of how sick she was. If there was green stuff in there, I knew she was pretty ill. When I got to mom and dads bedroom I would look at her through the door, try to evaluate her state before going in.
Mom couldn’t eat much because of the nausea. She threw up bile almost daily, so she got very thin. She didn’t have much strength; dad would help her stand up, shower, feed and get dressed. I remember my uncle sang and played the guitar for her. A nurse would come to give her injections.
Mom had to go to a hospital in Lund, south of Sweden, for regular treatment and tests as she wasn’t getting any better. I went down there once with some family to visit her. We spent the day at the hospital which was alright as long as everyone left me alone. Dad was staying at a hotel next to the hospital during the time they were there. I wanted to stay with him as it was the weekend and so I could stay the night. Dad was also the best person to be around, because he was the only adult who was honest with us and still made us feel better. Everyone else lied. As the evening approached, the adults seemed to think I wanted to be with mom. But mom was strange, like she was drugged only she wasn’t. Shit, I didn’t want to be alone with mom at all. But I was too embarrassed to tell them that when they said “aw, you want to stay with your mom don’t you”. So that’s where I was put. In the hospital, in a spare bed next to moms. Alone.
All. Fucking. Night.
I hated the world. I couldn’t sleep. I just lay there, listened to every mumble, every sound of agony, every confused dream she had. How could I possibly have said no? I couldn’t, that would be mean. And I didn’t want to be mean to my fragile little mom who was so quickly languishing. This was the week they found tumors on her brain. No wonder she was strange.
After about six months of hell, on Monday 6th May 1991 @ 20.45, mom went to rest. She was 37 years old.
I was still 11. My sister was 13. Our dad was 37.
We were such a young family and we lost an important part of us. But life must go on, and with good memories it can. So fuck cancer!