It was a slow Saturday in late September. The time when everyone’s back to school and no one is shopping for Christmas presents yet. I was at work, selling phones at BestBuy, when my phone started ringing. It was my brother who rarely calls me and almost always texts me first to ask if it’s a good time to talk. He didn’t this time so I answered nervously. He told me to sit down. The sinking feeling in my gut felt like acid churning in my stomach. “Mom had a seizure.” As I process this information I find myself wishing I had sat down. I felt like I was floating away from my body as I walked over to my manager. He was with a customer so there was no way I could interrupt. A coworker asked me if I was okay. “No. My mom had a seizure. I need to leave.” So my coworker interrupted my manager. “Excuse me but Catie needs to talk to you. I’ll take over.” He helped the customer as I explained to my manager what happened. Coworkers were gathering around us, curious. He told me to go, do whatever I needed to do. As if it were an afterthought, he added, “just update me when you know anything”. I walked out to the parking lot and called my boyfriend. He stayed on the phone as I drove home because I didn’t think I could drive home without his help; I needed him to talk to me about anything besides my mom.
When I got home we packed up everything and got in the jeep my grandparents had given me. It’s a 1998 Grand Cherokee. Later my grandparents would be shocked I took this car all the way to Utah and had no problems. But at the time I didn’t even think about it. It didn’t matter. I had to go. We picked up cigarettes and energy drinks; the only things needed for this kind of travel. My boyfriend seemed to know exactly how to handle a situation I would’ve never imagined. And I imagine a lot. But in all the times I have imagined crazy shit I never once thought of this.
The Vegas trip was planned for my brother’s birthday. Originally my boyfriend and I were going to go; but I wasn’t able to get the time off from work. The drive went by faster than any other fourteen-hour car ride I had taken and yet it took the longest at the same time. By the time we got there my mom had already been discharged from the hospital. The ER doctors called the seizure a random occurrence that likely wouldn’t happen again. Apparently, many people only have one seizure in their life and it’s usually caused by stress. Unfortunately, this “good news” didn’t apply to my mom.
As we toured the strip my mom kept joking that she had a seizure just to make us all get together. We had so much fun; the seizure was mostly forgotten. We left Vegas thinking life was back to normal and the seizure didn’t mean anything. My mom was told to go to her primary doctor when she got back to California and he ordered an MRI. I was back in Colorado, working and going to school, when I got a call from my mom’s mom. My mom wasn’t able to talk and I could hear her in the background, crying. On October twenty-fifth, my life changed forever. My mom has Cancer- the six letter word no one wants to hear. The disease that seems to be everywhere; everyone knows someone who has cancer. But this was different. This was my mom. Suddenly I was forced to realize I wouldn’t have my mom around forever. The one person I always took for granted and never considered losing. I still haven’t gotten used to the idea, but no one lives forever. My advice: Appreciate the ones you love while you have them. I know you hear this advice all the time but I’m telling you it again.
“Never throw away the chance to say ‘I love you’ to the people you care about because tomorrow is never promised.” -Unknown
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