I called Nana yesterday to get her shopping list. It isn’t much, because she hasn’t been eating much, but I had to ask, just in case. And off-handedly, she mentions her doctor appointment on Thursday. And how it was so Dr. K could read Wednesday’s CT scan of her lungs. And how they found a dark spot. And how that dark spot might be cancer.
Let that sink in: I call, on Saturday, for a shopping list, and I get “on Thursday, my doctor told me I might have cancer.”
She’s going back for more testing this Thursday.
Honestly? I hope it is cancer. Because that means it won’t be the dementia that kills her. That she won’t die shitting herself, unable to swallow, not knowing who we are. Lung cancer in an 83-year-old woman with emphysema won’t take long, but dementia could take years. Mom’s friend just lost his dad to dementia and it took 10 years from where Nana is now for that poor man to finally let go. Nana is stubborn enough that I have no doubt she’d be the same way.
And then, last night, I got word she’d been tipped off to the impending divorce, so after a bit of dithering and worrying and imaginary conversations, Pelle Carlberg’s “How I Broke My Foot and Met Jesus” came on Pandora. “It’s not half as bad as you think it is,” he crooned, and I remembered Hackimoto telling me, over and over, that I worry too much, that it’s never as bad as I imagine it will be.
So I called. I called Nana and reassured her that despite ending our relationship, Llamaface & I are both happier than we were together. His new woman is a teacher, and that scored points with Nana, who taught NYC public kindergarten for 25 years.
She was worried that, without his income, the ATeam & I wouldn’t be ok. As Hackimoto said, it’s not 1940. Child support, living frugally, renting a house Nana owns, and working a kick-ass job for a non-profit means financially we’re doing tight but fine. I stayed calm and patient (I deserve a cookie). I apologized for keeping it from her, and told her it was because a]it’s not really anyone’s business and b]I didn’t want her to worry.
I did not tell her I’m dating. I did not give her details of the reasons behind the split, just told her we weren’t happy together for a long time and that we’re better people apart.
“I guess you being here was a test,” she said. “It’s just a shame,” she continued. “He’s just so good with the boys.” Cue reassurances about parenting time, agreements, paperwork, and child support. “He still is good with the boys, Nana. And we’re making sure he sees them as much as he can.”
So Nana knows. Tipped off by someone who thought it was a good idea to tell her instead of talking to me first. I’m a little pissed about that. I’m trying to let it go, but seriously? That’s not cool. Whoever you are: at least go to the person first. Hearing she knew was a total shock to my system. Not okay.