I’d like to thank Linda McCartney.
While there are numerous reasons to honor her life (accomplished photographer, passionate animal rights activist, adored wife, beloved mother, etc), I’d rather celebrate her death. And, no, I’m not one who delights in someone’s demise.
Back when my Mom had been diagnosed and given a bleak prognosis, I would always tell people she had advanced cancer. Advanced. Not terminal. Never terminal.
Because my Mom was THAT person. Spitfire. Ornery. Fighter. She embodied these words. If anyone was giving this bastard of a disease a smackdown, she would. She was going to kick cancer square in the nuts and laugh.
Not only did my Mom dutifully follow her chemo regimen, she attempted a few… um, non-traditional-type therapies, including drinking/taking/applying any lotion or potion my step dad brought back from China. My aunt even brewed tea from grass flown in from Taiwan. Grass that, when it arrived, had been COVERED with ants (my skin still crawls thinking about it). No matter, my aunt still made it and my Mom still drank it.
For a time, it looked like everything my Mom was doing was working.
Until it wasn’t.
I’ll never forget the look on my Mom’s face when her oncologist told us he couldn’t help her anymore: defeat.
That’s when the ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda,’ and ‘If only’ games reared their ugly heads. “If only I’d eaten better,” “If only I’d worked out more,” “If only I’d tried other treatments,” “If only my daughter had been a doctor…” Remember, she was still an Asian mom.
Then, Linda McCartney died.
Here was this woman who, at least to us, seemed to have lived an exemplary life: not only did she marry a Beatle (a huge thing to my Mom), but she ate right (nothing but vegetables!), she exercised (rode horses in open fields!), and had access to the absolute best care money could buy (she married a Beatle!).
And, yet, even she couldn’t take down the big C.
Seeing this, my Mom could finally realize she was not to blame. That she wasn’t “allowing” the tumors to win. That she was not a failure.
So thank you, Linda McCartney, for showing my Mom that no matter how hard you fight, no matter what resources you have, no matter how strong you are, sometimes, cancer has the last laugh.
Our last picture together - 我很想念你