acting it out

the art of learning to live


having the disorienting,
hallucinatory quality of
a dream

…or sometimes a nightmare

If you had asked me just 2 months ago to give an example of surrealism,
I would have whipped out my art history knowledge,
referencing Salvador Dali or Max Ernst.

I’ll tell you about hospital beds & zip lock bags full of pill bottles.
about conversations with ex-lovers & ex-best friends.
about breakdowns in the shower head aisle at Walmart.
about house fires & heart attacks.
about the beautifully sad irony of burying your beloved family pet
at 2am, in the pouring rain, on Christmas.

This is the current state of my life.
surreal. sur. real. so. real.

It’s not an entirely unique story.

In 2012 there were an estimated
1,638,910 cases of cancer in the United States
& 577,190 cancer related deaths.

those “cases” are (were?)
brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, fathers,
& mothers.

They were strangers,
or even perhaps a distant acquaintance through Facebook.

They were someone else’s mother.

They were not my Mother.

They were not the woman who almost died giving birth to me.
They were not the woman who cried about how I had gotten her nose,
which she had always hated.
They were not the woman who handmade my clothes growing up,
often consisting of matching mother/daughter outfits & entirely too much denim.

The woman who, when she couldn’t work her corporate job
while pregnant with my brother, went to work changing diapers
so that I could still attend the best Montessori School in our area.

The woman who taught me how to make angels out of
different types of pasta noddles.
The woman who always made sure Santa Clause came,
despite what her bank account looked like.
The woman who taught by example, to be myself
& not worry about what others thought of me.

The woman who over the years found time to manage a full time job plus:
cheerleading, debate team, united nations, & mock trail competitions.
lacrosse, soccer, basketball, baseball, & football games.
track meets, chorus concerts, theatre productions & student film festivals.
not to mention all the fundraising, driving, & snack providing that went along with.

This is a sliver, a mere glimpse into my childhood
being raised by a single mother
in a town where a lot of my friends’ moms worked for fun, not necessity.

This is my mother.
& she is dying.

and all I can do is watch & wait.


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One thought on “surreal

  1. Stan Harris on said:

    Amanda, your Mom is a kind and caring person, and you got those traits of hers along with her nose. I can tell that both of you mean a great deal to the other, and I’m so grateful that you are there for her at this time. I continue to pray for a miracle.

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