I haven’t seen my mum in a month…and it’s been an intense one. She’s completed her second round of preventative chemotherapy for a cancerous gene, and as one would imagine, it hasn’t been easy. With only two more rounds to go, she is physically and mentally doing amazingly. She is barreling through this like a woman on a mission…and what a mission it is. This is really the first time our family has ever been through something that could potentially shake us to the core of our being. And I have to say that I am so proud of her…proud of her strength and her certainty in how she has to deal with what she’s going through. And I feel horrible because I’ve been dealing with a cold for a month now…the one that comes and goes and comes back and goes and comes back again…so I can’t expose her to this super-irritating-won’t-go-away-nuisance-of-a-cold. But I know that she’s got all the support she needs, because my father is with her.
My father is the strong, silent type. In fact, he’s the poster boy for it. But boy is probably the wrong word to describe him. If “manning up” has any validity as a real term in our vernacular, then my father is re-defining it. He is doing everything in his power to make sure my mother has everything she needs…and every thing she wants. Running her errands, sitting by her side during her treatments, being her pillar of strength. My mother has already lost her hair, and that alone is a lesson in re-assessing how we identify ourselves, especially for a woman who admittedly has never swam with her head below the water line for fear of ruining the coiffe that she has proudly displayed throughout the decades, full peacock-style Throughout everything that is currently unfolding, my dad is fully present. He wants to take care of her. And every time my mum mentions him her voice breaks and I hear the emotion as she fights back the sobs of love and gratitude. It happened again last night when we spoke on the phone. And for the hours after I got off the phone with her, before I went to sleep, I found myself in tears, marvelling at my parents’ love affair in total awe and reverence.
Throughout my life, and still to this day, my parents have used an expression to convey the magnitude and intention behind whatever it was they were talking to each other about. They would either start or end a phrase by saying, “On our love.” And they’ve never once been irresponsible in the usage of it. My parents love each other. They’ve even had an article in the Montreal Gazette written about their relationship. After over 45 years of being married, after raising three boys, and after everything that happens to and around a couple living full, demanding lives, they are more madly in love with each other now than ever. This has been my example for 38 years. And I fully understand the blessing that has been bestowed upon me. My parents love each other for who each of them is, and they love each other despite who each of them is. They love fearlessly and fully. Unconditionally and completely. They have a real, modern-day love affair that just gets stronger the longer they go on. And it makes me proud to have them as role models, and it makes me well up with admiration…and I feel the depth of my mother’s love for my father as she tells me how he’s helping her along this path she’s found herself on. And being privy to this real-life romance serves absolutely no one if I can’t pass it on and share it with everyone.
When my mother found out that she was going to have to go through this treatment, I told my mother that the journey she was facing would result in the most blinding of beautiful things…and I was right. I love you Mama & Papa. Thank you.