Two days ago I turned 37 years old. I went out with a few friends from work after we had a team-building outing. The next night, the night of my birthday, I worked until 730 or so and had a conference call at around 8pm. I’ve essentially been doing the same things for the past two weeks or so, keeping unnecessarily busy with stuff that I really shouldn’t be to avoid dealing with a terrible situation.
My mom has cancer. She’s just 59 years old and she’s been dealing with lupus and other health issues for a number of years. These issues have prevented her from getting health insurance. After two surgeries at a cost of around $10,000 each, she now needs to have a hysterectomy, which according to the doctors will cost upwards of $120,000 by the time it’s all said and done.
I’ve been avoiding showing any emotions about it because there are too many. Some days I am sad. Some days I am worried. Some of the time I am angry. Most of the time I am grateful for what an incredible person gave birth to me. I can’t help but wonder if she chose me, I chose her, or if God really has all this shit figured out, because this experience definitely reminds me that I don’t know anything.
My mom is an amazing woman. If you’ve ever met her, there is no doubt you feel the same. She’s the most selfless person on the planet. For as long as I can remember, she’s welcomed neighborhood kids, friends, and foes, coworkers and strangers into our house. When I was a kid, every kid in the neighborhood would be welcomed after school for snacks, Kool-Aid, and whatever other miracles she was able to create from the limited budget a single income family of 6 could spare. I don’t know how she did it. But I always wanted my friends to come over because I knew she had enough love to give to everyone.
As I became a teenager, I found more trouble than I’d ever want to share with her because I knew how much she loved me and I guess deep down, I knew how reckless and unappreciative my rebellious actions were. I used to wake up between 5 and 6am every day during high school so I could have coffee with her. We used to sit and talk, and sometimes watch the morning news on a little black and white tv that was tucked away in the bread box. I don’t know if I was ever happier than those conversations, even to this day.
My parents were religious and in my young teens, as I was trying to find my way, I discovered hip hop and grunge music. It was the first thing I ever discovered on my own that was an escape for me. There were sports, but that always seemed like something my parents wanted for me and my stubbornness kept me from embracing it. Music became my drug, along with alcohol. But I’ll never forget the constant battles of defiance over what I could listen to, especially around my younger siblings. However, one of the most poignant memories was playing Tupac’s Dear Mama on the cassette deck in our minivan with my mom. She cried. I cried. And it was as if all of the disagreements disappeared. When I got my first cell phone, I remember hearing that song and texting my mom to say I love you. I’ve texted her the same thing every time I’ve heard Tupac’s Dear Mama ever since.
I’m not sure where I am going with this. It’s a lot like the emotions I am feeling. It’s all over the place. These are the thoughts that are coming to my heart as I type. But I know that like those times we struggled back in my childhood, living in the campground or staying with people from church, there are times that we as humans just can’t do it alone and need the support of others. So I’m asking for help.
I’ve set up this GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/crlewin to ask for help. If you can help by donating, I would greatly appreciate it and I will pay it forward the way I have been trying to all my life for the good karma and unconditional love that my mom bestowed upon me.