I did not find out until at least six months after the fact, that my grandfather had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. No one told me and when they did, it was quite off the cuff. Quite cursory. Very much in the style of, “Oh, I thought you knew. Oh well…” It was so hard to hear that. To be thousands and thousands of miles away and to just hear it like that. I worked in a medical field yet I couldn’t get enough information from my family to understand what was going on. I couldn’t go to doctor’s appointments with him. It was so hard. Everyone was so non-chalant.
I went home in December of 2009, for the first time in five years. It wasn’t until I was at home, talking to my Mom that I found out my paternal grandmother had passed. Two years before I came home. TWO. YEARS. Now, I had spent over a year and a half not talking to my father, for no real reason other than fear and anxiety. Still. No one had told me that my grandmother had gotten sick and had passed away under some bad circumstances. No one thought to call. To email. To send smoke signals. No one told me at all.
I was kept a bit more in the loop when my Aunt was surprisingly diagnosed with Stage III Ovarian Cancer. I was closer to my family then so perhaps it was because I poked and prodded. Maybe it was because I asked more pointed questions, but I know I still felt alone with my grief last Christmas. As loving as my family wants to be, it isn’t how I need to be loved. Regardless of how close or not close I am to my Aunt, it was my first close friend or family member to be diagnosed with Cancer. It was a big deal to me and I spent a lot of time around the holidays last year, crying and dealing with that grief.
My Dad let me know within a week of his potential cancer diagnosis. I was so grateful to know what was happening with him and to reconnect while I was at home. We got closer. We spent days together picking out lunch from the garden and then chatting on the porch while it cooked up. We have been in great contact through email, text and phone. He texts me before each chemotherapy treatment to check in. He likes to know that everything is going well before treatment to give him ‘good thoughts’. I text him during treatment and after to make sure he’s handling it okay. I call to tell him about my life. We clearly have a better relationship after all these years.
Things get better, but yet they still say the same.
I just found out my Aunt’s cancer is back and she already had her first chemotherapy treatment. Mom’s entire response was, “Oh, I thought you knew.”
I just will never get it.