February 23rd, 2001


Nine days...

Auntie M has 9 days left. Actually, a week by now. Her clock is slowly ticking away, and it's bugging me. She isn't lucid for more than five minutes at a time, so I can't even say a proper goodbye. It stinks.
Auntie M (who I've never actually called Auntie M, which makes this all so disturbing.) has cancer. The killer kind that leaves giant tumors on the back of your neck that grow so rapidly that the difference can be seen daily.
I'm not very happy, but it's all for the best, you know? I mean, if she's going to die, it's best if she does it now, than to have it stretched out into a long, painful procedure that takes years and years. It's bad enough that it's taking her a week. She doesn't deserve it. She was the best. A good woman. Nothing more and nothing less.
It stinks, though. I remember doing all sorts of projects for her that involved construction paper and wax crayons, always with bright colors. (She was a teacher.) I always did the best job for her, because she was so cool. I can remember, watching her put on the blue eyeliner she always wore, asking why she wore makeup. I was seven, maybe eight. She pinkie-swore to me that when I was old enough, she would teach me about makeup and boys and anything else I wanted to know.
By the time I was old enough, she'd started her battle with a killer disease and could no longer answer my questions.
So when I went to see her on Tuesday, this aunt I don't share a drop of blood with, it was hard. I think I was in shock - I didn't feel particularly sad when I saw her lying down, too weak to sit up. I just felt tired. Sooo tired.
I remember thinking, at that first moment, at least she has hair now. Last time I saw her, she didn't. She was bald, because chemo had taken her pretty black tresses (not a white hair in sight) away. But she has hair now, cut stylishly.
So here's to you, Auntie M. I wanted to tell you, "Go gentle not into that good night," but I don't know the poem or even who wrote it. So instead, when you cross to the other side - give your son an extra hug from me.
I'll be giving your mother an extra hug, down here.