Prompt #63: The Call to Adventure
When my mother received her terminal diagnosis of metastatic small cell lung cancer, she said, “You just make sure if I pop off, I am really popped off. I heard of someone who sat up after everyone thought she was dead. And I don’t want to go into the drawer at the morgue until you make sure I’m dead. Because you never know, do you?”
I said, “Mom, you’re not going to pop off right now. But is there anything you want me to do now?”
She nodded. I leaned in. She said, “Teach me to swim, so I can go on Survivor.” She laughed and then she was all business, telling me to notify British social security once she died and to pay her homeowner’s association. “And delete my facebook page, will you?”
I wrote everything down as fast as I could, underneath the heading: Upon Mother’s Death. I looked up, and the sun was a pink orb through the autumn smog. I started to cry, and Mother said, “Oh no you don’t. You can’t do that. You mustn’t fall apart. You can fall apart later.”
I told my mother I had to go to the bathroom. I walked down the hospital hallway, passing beds being wheeled by, a bald man with a garland of tumors on his head. Once in the bathroom, closed stall door, I lost it.
And the feeling came: I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. It’s too hard. I can’t do this.
And then finally there was this: