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The End of Cancer...Going Home
Her entire head was wrapped in bandages. The little girl had never seen so many bandages on one person in her life! Was this Maw? Her Maw? The person in this bed barely moved. She looked up at her mommy who was looking down at her little girl. Mommy took a deep breath, put her hand on the little girl's back and together, they went towards the bed.
Mommy put her hand on this person's shoulder and the bandaged head moved. The little girl was able to see this person's eyes and she knew at that moment this was indeed her Maw...
Afraid to speak, her thoughts inside her head went wild..
"Is cancer so bad you have to be completely wrapped up in bandages?"
"Who did this to Maw?""She looks like she is going to die!"
"Can't we just go to Maw's house and find Maw...this has to be someone else!"
Suddenly the person on the bed moved her hand and patted the spot beside her...just like Maw would do. The little girl looked down at the hand and noticed how much it did indeed look like Maw's.
Slowly she crawled up on the bed and noticed that there were tears in this person's eyes. She felt the hand move to touch her face and the little girl just laid over on this person's...Maw's...tummy and cried. This was her Maw and she was going to take care of her and make her better so those bandages would go away and Maw would be back to normal.
Maw rubbed the little girl's hair and listened to Mommy while she filled her in on the trip and where they were staying.
Looking back, she realizes how hard this must have been on her Mommy because 22 is so very young to be so far away from home with a little one and all alone.
Each day over the next two weeks, the little girl and her mommy would get up early and make that long walk all the way to the hospital. They would sit with Maw and talk to her even though Maw couldn't talk back. The little girl would read books to Maw and play dollies and every now and then, Maw felt good enough to sit up so the little girl could climb behind her and brush her long white hair. Maw had such pretty hair...
They would make this trip to Maryland 4 more times, staying anywhere from a few days to two weeks.
On one such trip the little girl and her mommy were walking towards the hospital and talking. By now, she had gotten used to the mean woman where they stayed and even the walk didn't seem quite so long.
"Baby, when we get to Maw today, you'll see that she won't be wearing any bandages."
Yes!!!...Finally..she'd be getting her Maw back!!
"You've got to understand the Maw is going to look very different."
"When she came here, they had to operate to take the cancer out of Maw's mouth. In order to make sure that they would get rid of all of it so Maw would never have to come back here, they had to take out these bones."She looked up at her mommy and noticed mommy was rubbing her jaws and chin.
"In order to get to the bones, they also had to take away all of this skin."Mommy was still rubbing the same places.
"They are going to fix Maw's face when they are sure all of the cancer is gone, but in the meantime, she might look very scary to you."
"Is Maw going to be able to talk to me yet?"
"No. Not until they fix her mouth. I know you want her to be like she was before the cancer, but she will never be that way again. Do you understand that?"
She didn't really understand, but she'd been around Maw long enough since the cancer to know that she was just happy that Maw was still alive.
"When the do fix Maw's mouth, she won't look the same and she will have a very hard time talking.She's going to have to learn to talk again and you're going to have to be patient when you try to understand her. Okay?"
"Yes, Mommy. I'm a big girl. It will all be okay. Maw didn't die and it will all be okay."
Mommy rubbed her little girl's head and they went in the hospital.
Sure enough the bandages were gone and in their place was a mask like the doctors wore..but it was okay. The doctors would fix Maw's face soon and they would never have to come back to this place again.
Over time. Maw did go home. Her face never looked the same again and like Mommy said, Maw had to learn to talk again and the little girl had to become a better listener. But it was okay. Maw was alive and there would be many more mornings of homemade biscuits and homemade yellow gravy. There would be many more walks up the mountain picking flowers. There would be many more bee stings.
And speaking of bees....