The heavy, thick guitar lumbered through the truck’s speakers as I soaked in the sludgey metal sounds coming from my son’s phone.
I was giving him yet another ride to the ski resort where he is a tech in the rental shop. This was the 5th or bazillionth ride I have given him in the past week or so since his car broke down. Usually, we sit in silence for most of the drive, as morning isn’t exactly my son’s most energetic time of day. But by some miracle, he was not in his usual pre-noon stupor. In fact, he was down-right talkative.
The drive to the mountain takes about an hour from our house. From nearly the time we left the driveway in the dark hours of this Northwest winter morning, all the way to the snowy parking lot, he regaled me with all the sub-genres, and sub-sub genres of metal music from Doom to Sludgecore. My son, who is 19 years old, is a multi-instrumental musician and when in the mood, can really geek out on music theory. He explained the intricacies of the sounds I was hearing, pointing out the subtle differences between the bands/songs.
To him, it was probably just a conversation with mom. But to me, it was one of those moments a parent savors when they know these interactions can be far and few between.
With a “See ya, mom”, he headed into the resort. I turned back toward home and reflected on not only the conversation, but where my head has been for a while.
I replayed what I’ve been through with breast cancer and all that goes with it. I was diagnosed in July of 2019, and thought by now I would be ‘living my best life’ with my future so bright, I gotta wear shades. Why doesn’t it feel that way most of the time?
I have been in a serious funk, bobbing up and down in an ocean of depression. November was one of the hardest months I have had this year, as I slogged my way through the anniversary of my dad’s death 23 years ago, acknowledged what would have been my deceased brother’s 58th birthday, and prepared for the smallest Thanksgiving gathering in years.
It’s been a shit-smeared pageant of a year. The pandemic has seriously taken its toll on most of us, and if it wasn’t for having to know what day it is for work (from home), I’m sure I would think it’s still March.
Are we sure it isn’t March 256th?
I started the year with hope and excitement about putting miles on my motorcycle that were lost due to treatments/surgery, going on vacations, running a half-marathon, hiking trails, watching football with our friends. As we wrap up the year, I rarely leave the house.
I go out so little, that last week, two days before back-to-back doctor appointments with my Oncologist and Plastic Surgeon (who will be doing my reconstruction in 2021), I started planning what to wear.
I settled on pleather leggings with a snakeskin texture, leather boots and a rad tunic. I dug out makeup that hasn’t seen the light of day in months, and put product in my very curly post-chemo hair. If I can’t feel like a rock-star, I at least want to look like one.
My family has dealt directly with Covid, as my in-laws battled (fortunately successfully) the virus. I have been tested a few times this year, with some close calls that have caused some serious pandemic anxiety.
Thanks to Anastrozole, the daily hormone-inhibitor I take, my body feels like it is betraying me. I wake up every single morning feeling like I have been mugged by a Defensive Tackle. I deal with daily, head-to-toe myalgic pain.
I have seen my 23-year old daughter struggle with some extremely weighty circumstances that would challenge anyone during a ‘regular’ year. Friends and family alike have had to navigate the highs and lows of a year riddled with political tumult.
I’ve lost some relationships this year and have had to really dig deep as to how to navigate all the feelings that go with that.
As we see the end of the tunnel that is 2020, I can’t tell you if there is a light there. I do see a faint glow, however.
I am trying to reflect on the good things that have happened. The encouraging news from my Oncologist that I am still as cancer-free as anyone. I am grateful for a therapist who has held my hand through it all.
I am filled with happiness and warmth when I think about all the laughs with girlfriends I have had over Zoom and our secret-society Messenger group called “IJLB”, or talking to my bestie of 20-years almost every day.
I am thinking about all the backyard fires my husband and I have enjoyed as we sipped wine, or one of his famous cocktails. How we made Bacon S’mores and devoured them as we put our feet up on the firepit.
I am grateful for Murphy (lovingly known as Murph the Derp), who came into our lives at the end of summer as a little pup and has grown into a goofy teenager of a German Shepherd. He is as entertaining as he is frustrating, and I wouldn’t give him up for anything.
There have been good moments, and I need to acknowledge them when they happen. I enjoyed the conversation with my son more than he will ever know. Learning about Doom metal was just what I needed.
You can’t always get what you want
but if you try sometimes
you just might find
you get what you need