Suicide no. 51: Five Visitors
–by Derek Alan Wilkinson
My youngest, Jesse, got me a cordless drill and a hammer for Mother’s Day this year, along with a dozen roses. I asked him why he opted for such manly gifts, and he said it was because I did the job of both parents raising him. I smiled.
This morning, I went to go use that same hammer to hang some pictures of the boys in the hall leading into our dining room. I ended up having to call him to help me, because my shoulder had been hurting for almost a week. It would start in the morning, and progressively get worse throughout the day. Once I realized that neither the pain nor the swelling were subsiding, I met with Dr. Welch.
Never mind the hammer, or any other heavy lifting. Turns out I had a tumor in the socket of my right shoulder. I had surgery to get the thing about about a month ago. Hopefully, it doesn’t metastasize—though my arm’s been bandaged up for quite some time, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Bone cancer runs in my genes.
I just hope it doesn’t run in my kids’.
Either way, I’m prepared for the worst. No matter what, I have grandchildren to help raise, and enough fight in me to do it. I shouldn’t worry though. It’s probably nothing.
I shouldn’t have spoken too soon.
It’s been almost a year, and I just had a second surgery in the same place last week. The doctor has been running tests. If things keep up like this, its going to my lymph nodes next. I feel more tired and weak as the days go by. They just started me on chemo, too. Its taking everything I have—inch my inch.
Adam had to help shave my head this morning.
It had been coming out in lumps, so I did away with it altogether. Keeps it from clogging the shower. I just hope all of this is worthwhile. I’m going to survive this, no matter what.
The chemo isn’t helping.
The cancer has metastasized into my lungs. Every breath I take feels like its the last one. I’m drowning into my own body. Going to the bathroom is the hardest thing I do all day. I have a will and a funeral plot picked out. Adam, my oldest, tells me I don’t need these things. He brings me breakfast, tells me he’s sorry for being so rotten over the years.
Frankly, I could care less—I’d gladly bail him out of jail another three or four times just so he’d know that, no matter what, he’s still my son.
I just wish he knew that.
It’s not getting any better. I can’t remember the last time I got up to do something without someone’s help. I’ve barely enough in me just to change the channel on the same television I’ve been going delirious staring into—day in and day out. Everything has fallen apart. Luckily, Adam leaves my morphine by the bedside every night. If I had the strength, I’d write him a note to tell him that what I did wasn’t his fault.
But I think, deep down, he already knows that. Why else, in a mental state where he knows what I’ll probably do next, would he have left me to my own devices?