June 14, 2011

I longed for a hug

Choose a time when either the abundance or lack of affection (either by you or someone else) stands out, and show us.  Bring us to that time.  Help us feel what you felt.

I picked up the phone on the third ring, it was my Mom. She's getting on in age; in a fragile voice shaking with emotion she said to me “the doctors office just called they told me I have colon cancer."  “I’ll be right over." I replied. I hung up the phone but not before the tears came.

My husband rushed into the kitchen I slipped into his arms the place I know so well, my safe place. The place I went to time and time again after the kids died; the familiar hands that held me as I cried, as we cried and talked about our loss. From the shelter of his arms I mumbled, “how can they tell her that over the phone, it just seems so cold doesn't it?"  The familiar feeling of dread crept into my senses again it was my constant companion after the death of our son and daughter. I took a deep breath and said, "Honey we better get over there she shouldn't be alone." 

We didn't even dress we just filled our coffee cups and crossed the short stretch of wet grass to Mom's house, we arrived within minutes. We held hands gaining strength in that connection; two always stronger than one we walked up to the door. The door flew open and before I can even kiss or hug her she exclaimed. "I have cancer the least you could do is bring me a freekin cup of coffee," then she turned and walked into the kitchen. My heart just sank and my stomach twisted into a knot. I had imagined walking in and embracing my Mother comforting her but that didn't happen of course; so I made her the coffee she desired. 

When all was discussed and Mom had calmed some she walked us to the door.  I put my arms around her, her spine went rigid, and her arms remained stiff at her side. I told her that she would be OK that we loved her that we'd take care of her no matter what. I was surprised by the powerful feelings of rejection I was experiencing. I would have done anything for her to hug me back; I longed for that connection to her especially now that she was sick. As I released her I could feel the tears stinging at the back of my eyes; the thought of losing my mother so soon after my children was too much to bear. Then quietly my husband and I slipped out the door.  

Determined to do whatever I could for Mom, I got back to my house and put a call in to the doctor’s office and made inquiries about what they told her on the phone that very morning. As it turns out they wanted her see a specialist to have a screening test for colon cancer; she didn't have colon cancer! I exhaled a deep sigh of relief; I must have been holding my breath; then I walked into my husbands arms.


  1. There is so much here, so many layers of affection, expectation and pain. I love that you have the shelter of your husbands arms, both literally and emotionally.

    The section of you describing your mother's rigid spine and your feelings of both rejection and yet clarity of needing her not to die so close to you enormous loss was clear, honest and heartbreaking and I admire your courage and fortitude.

  2. I'm sorry you didn't get the hug you longed for. Perhaps it was your mother's way of self preservation? Maybe she would have fallen apart. I'm glad that she is ok!

  3. Your mom sounds so much like mine, it's scary. When they found out my dad had cancer, I called to ask what the doctor said. She yelled, "What do you think?", and hung up on me.

  4. I hurt for you- so very much.

    This post is so raw and vulnerable.

    Consider yourself hugged within this weird little bloggy world that we share!

  5. While I am grateful for your mom's misinformed cancer threat, I'm sad for you! Luckily your husband's hugs offer the respite you so deserve.

  6. Thanks ladies for all of your comments. You're all wonderfully understanding and supportive of what was a pretty difficult moment.

    And Mom God love her! I just about have to drag her kicking and screaming to the doctor after that episode; but she does go after some sweet talk from me :)

  7. I can't imagine this moment for you...the fear, the dread setting in, the rejection from your mother as she faced her own fear and dread. Sometimes we just crave human touch, particularly from those we love the most. We crave the chance to hug them and comfort them. I'm sorry she wasn't able to give you what you craved so much. But I'm so glad to hear that she's okay. That had to be one of the scariest moments of your life!

  8. My heart hurts reading these words from you. Im so sorry that there is such a stark contrast between the affection of your mom and the affection of your husband. and Im so glad you have his safe place, his hand in yours, his arms around you.

  9. You revealed so much in this post...I am not sure if this is the first I have read of your writing, or if I did not know so much about you. I am glad you have writing to help work out your pain. You write beautifully, your details reveal so much, the body movements, the verbs, I love it!

  10. Katie,
    I think you hit the nail on the head, mom and i both were experiencing fear and dread. Some people crave human touch when experiencing that and I guess some aren't quite as comfortable accepting the comfort of others when they are afraid.

  11. Jenna & Terry,

    Mom was not her usual self to be honest, it was a roller coaster morning of emotion.

    When I read the prompt I just knew I'd write about it, she was so closed up, i felt so vulnerable and my husband was such a rock. I just knew it would be a good experience to write about, the emotion, the contrast,even if it was revealing. Thanks for reading it and for commenting.

  12. Sorry Jen, I have been out of town working and a little late.....

    Hugs and prayers, It will all be Ok.

    Jim Dorchak

  13. Thanks Jim,
    It's just a day in an otherwise good, loving and solid relationship. You know how those bad days go!

  14. I am so glad that you have such a strong relationship, someone to lean on.


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