Hedy was sitting by my bedside. She said, “You don’t remember our grandparents, do you?” No, I don’t. I almost remember a piece of furniture in the basement, an empty buffet that I was crawling inside of to play hide and seek. The scent of its interior. I remember someone telling me, “You can’t go in there, that was Bubby’s.” And wondering who Bubby was. I didn't quite remember the person of that name, but the olfactory trigger may have been there for a moment. Then it was gone and I was looking for another place to hide. I was maybe three years old.
Anyway, now I am 59 years old and in a hospital bed. I was just gutted like a fish, or in medical speak, “optimally debulked.” I’d rather say “debunked.” Hedy said, rhetorically, innocently, “You don’t remember our grandparents, do you?” And I said no. I thought, but didn’t say, “and what if I don’t get to know my grandchildren, either?” Hot tears came down my face and I had to stop them. I didn’t have the intestinal fortitude (literally) to blow my nose if I started to cry. I was held together with tape and staples from my solar plexus to my pubic bone. Everything hurt, despite the morphine-on-demand button.
Sad at the truncated life I was allotted. Not much of a link to my lineage, my forebears and descendants. Disconnected from the past and the future. Not fair. There is no “fair” to any of this. Taking that idea out of the equation then, it’s just sad to think I will have such a short life.
Fast forward for another month. We have just dropped off Jesse & Juliet at the airport. They’re heading back to New York after a brief visit to the shocked couple. Matt and I are reeling from the surprise diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer, Stage III-C. Surgery. Chemotherapy. I’ve just hugged goodbye my 6’ 5” son, 32 years old. I’m already fighting tears of loss. As we drive away from the airport curb Matt tells me that next time Jesse will come alone because Juliet is working with a fertility doctor and may not be able to fly. Loose the floodgates. Now I’m really crying. I WILL get to meet my grandchildren! My body goes warm, the hot tears run. Oh, why didn’t they tell me? I want to slobber all over my very proper daughter in law and love all over her. Oh, Juliet! Oh, Jesse! How can I ever thank you for changing my entire life?
Fast forward 6 months more. I am through chemo. My hair makes soft fuzz on my bare scalp. Juliet and Jesse are pregnant with TWINS! My five words to cancer are: “I will be a grandmother!” No, wait. I will be a Bubby.