Mom’s Tank Top

My mom has cancer.
It’s a ferocious intruder.

Our days, 50 since her confirmed diagnosis, have been mechanical.
We’ve tended to things.
Like setting up her bedroom.
Our home.
Getting a wheelchair. And walker.  And shower chair.
We’ve taken care of paper work.
Opened our home to visitors and guests.
Family and friends.
Picked up too many prescriptions.
And bags of ice from Sonic.
And worn out her craving for orange slushies.
We’ve dotted I’s and crossed T’s.
Days have come, and days have gone.
But task-filled.

Then there was today.

       Today was hard.

Momma, still very mechanical and checking off boxes,
Showed me the pajamas she wants to be buried in.
They are beautiful.
Momma asked me to buy a tank top to go with the pajama shirt.
That I can put on her, underneath the pajama shirt.
When it is time.
For her to be buried.

So I went to Belk.
With mom’s burial pajamas in tow.
I found two tank tops right away that matched nicely.
One green, the other, blue.
Then I spent the next hour and a half, just walking around the store.
Counting down the minutes.
Until it closed.
Letting my thoughts wander, and wonder, and prepare
For checking off this final box.
A final task.

This whole thing seems surreal.
I mean, my momma’s sick.
She’s not getting better.
And even though I know this, it still feels like
When I wake up one morning,
She’s going to be healed.
In the flesh.
And having a great day.
I know this is not likely to happen.
But I still feel like none of this is really happening.
Just 3 months ago, momma was dancing at her grandson’s wedding.
Just a week ago, she was shelling a bushel of butterbeans.
And today?
Today, I bought her a tank top.
I finished her ensemble.
And a final task box is now checked off.

       I cried the whole way home from the store.
       Crying out loud for one more good day.
       One more Sonic run, with momma riding shotgun.
       One more afternoon of her sitting at the kitchen table
       Watching me unload the grocery bags
       Like a parent watching their child open Christmas packages.
       Why can’t she have one more good day?
       So at 1:15pm, I can call from work and interrupt Days of our Lives.
       Or she can sit with me outside
       And marvel at the birds, flowers, heat.
       Just one more day!
       One more day of no pain.
       And no worry.
       And no cares.

She told me which shoes to pair with her burial pajamas.
She calls them her wedding shoes
Since she wore them to her oldest grandson’s wedding this spring.
And I thought
it very appropriate
For His bride to be wearing wedding shoes
As she enters the Kingdom
of her Groom.

A tanktop.
A surrender
To what is to come.

She chose the green one.
And just like that, the box was marked with a  check.

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Beverly Shearon on July 5, 2015 at 7:44 am

    My heart hurts for you. Will continue to lift you and your family to the Father.


  2. Posted by Shirleen Spencer on July 5, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Sending prayers for your Mom and your sweet family. My Dad fought the same cancer. Now that all the items on Barbara’s list have been checked off, I pray that this will bring you peace. You have fulfilled each and every task with love.


    • Fractured, messed up world we’re in. Praise the Lord, this is not our home. Appreciate your prayers, Shirleen. Thank you.


  3. Posted by Pam Gaddy on July 5, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Oh, Sweet Sherry. How hard this is to read, much less to live. Bless your precious heart. I pray for you, your mama, and the guys. Each day is a gift for us, as you are so well aware.


  4. Posted by Julie Duff on July 6, 2015 at 11:10 am

    I don’t think one is better than the other, knowing your days are numbered the end is near or the unexpected loss of a loved one!!! All I can say is tears, big bawling tears! I will pray you and your Mom. If you need anything please call, just around the corner. Love you and miss seeing you and your sweet smile!


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