“They began to fade very quickly after they were diagnosed, seeming to lose weight over night. I will never forget the day my parents told me they had cancer. They didn't have an explanation as to why, only aware that it was advanced. After a short time the pain became almost unbearable for them, and it wasn't uncommon for my relatives to come and take me home from the hospital when it was clear neither of my parents were going to be able to.
It affected my mom and my dad differently. For my mom, it was her breathing that was started getting worse, and though the treatments managed to help a little, it did not prevent the sickness from spreading.The sound of a oxygen tank became background noise.
For my father it was focused in his bones. He struggled to move without wincing in pain, and more than once I had to watch him wait for medicine to kick in before he could use the bathroom without help. He prided himself in his ability to do so. After a while though, it was clear that he wasn't going to make it every time. Changing of the sheets became more regular as the cancer progressed.
I found myself seeing less and less of them as the treatments became more advanced. After a while I think they ended up seeing more of each other than me. I know they did this to protect me, but I also knew that I wanted to see them more than anything, even when they began to look different from what I remembered. After a while the pain began to affect them, and though I thought them being sick was bad, it was their reaction that made it worse.
My father was the first to begin showing signs. The treatments were painful and taxing, and I began to see him losing his temper at the doctors and nurses. My dad never lost his temper before. Not like that. Seeing him like that made me uncomfortable, and I would feel myself begin to panic whenever one of his fits would begin to take hold.
I wasn't too young to understand how cancer can impact someone, especially when it enters the brain. But this just made it harder when I found out that their brains were untouched. My dad, for all his strength and fortitude, was losing his mind to it. They gave him medicine, but that only made him worse. When the cancer began to go into remission, everyone assumed things would get better with him. But it didn't. By that point, the doctors were convinced the pain was all in his head. After one outbreak lead to some injuries it was decided for me that he should be put in a asylum.
My mother began to get worse soon after. Not having oxygen can do horrible things to people, and my mother had to deal with it all the time. The pain was bad, but it was want for air that was making it harder and harder to cope. Watching her gasping for breath as she crossed the room became something I had to look away from...the fact that my father was getting worse didn't help, and though I tried desperately to get them to meet it got to the point where it was too much for both of them. They stayed together, but they only saw me separately. Eventually my mom began to talk to people who weren't in the room, asking them to help her breathe. When she got bad enough, yet well enough, they moved her to the asylum as well.
My relatives tried to keep me from visiting my parents. But I didn't understand why. I just knew I missed them, missed the way they used to be. I missed hearing them say they love me, instead of hearing my mother babbling about the strange figure in the room. I missed my dad saying I did a good job racking the leaves, instead of seeing him look at me with contempt, as if what was happening to them was my fault. I felt alone more than anything, even when I was with them, and slowly I became less and less concerned with going back to see them. My dad ended up dying within a few months, the treatment and the affect of the drugs taking out his heart. My mother was far more simple. She just stopped breathing.
At the funeral everyone wanted to tell me that everything would be okay. But I knew it wouldn't be. My relatives weren't much of any sort of parents for me. They were family, but we could never be really close. They tried, but there are some things you just can't make up for. Near the end my parents weren't really much of parents for me either, butcould hardly admit it to myself at the time.
The doctor came to see me that day, and insisted that we meet to talk. I cried for hours, though I couldn't figure out for what reason. I suppose there were simply too many. A part of me wanted to die then and there. I had thought that if I had one more chance to talk with my parents that I would be able to make sense of it. But when I looked at their bodies in their caskets, all I saw was flesh the color of ashes, eyes burning like coals. They weren't my parents. Someone had stolen them.”
I don't think I can handle another therapy session. I never remembered my parents being in an institution, and always thought they died in the hospital, even if I could never remember how. The fact that I need someone prodding my brain to finally remember my childhood is bad enough, but what I am remembering isn't something I wanted to know. I was upset by the knowledge of my parents being sick, and thought that was the worst of it. How does knowing they went insane, were institutionalized before they died help me at all?
The doctor says it seems to be helping, but he must see something I can't. I am beginning to force myself to stay awake for days. Eventually I pass out, and I know it doesn't make me feel better. But I don't remember my dreams, and for now that is worth it. I will keep on trying these sessions. Somehow I have to believe the doctor knows better than I do. He suggests that I stop investigating Wellington Street. But I know that is impossible. This place is inescapable, and the things I have seen here will continue to haunt me whether I am watching them do it or not.