When I moved to San Francisco in August 2005, I made the decision to do so in about three weeks. My house in Austin sold and I turned in my final paper for my master’s degree. My mom and I flew to SF and found a cute apartment that fit in the living room of my Austin house and cost 50% more, and was in what I would later find out was a terrible neighborhood. Then I drove cross country with my cat and my boyfriend to start my new life.
Before the boxes were even unpacked, I had my TV and cable connected so I could watch the finale of my favorite TV show at the time, Six Feet Under.
I never cried so much because of a TV show in my life.
There was something about that final scene that mirrored my life. Leaving home for the first time and living so far away is scary. What would happen while I was gone?
Two years later, my grandmother died. We were very, very close.
Two years after that, my grandfather died.
And then on June 6th, the International Day of Slayer (that will be my music tie-in here), my entire life changed.
I was woken up at 8:30am from a Faygo soaked clown-mare of epic proportions by a phone call. I sleep with my iPhone. It’s more reliable than a boyfriend, even with AT&Ts terrible service.
It was my dad.
I don’t talk to my dad unless something bad has happened. So I thought it was going to be about my grandmother, who’s in her mid-nineties.
It was my mom. After a week of being sick, he had rushed her to the emergency room Saturday night. After a few tests, it was determined that she had a tumor, near her pancreas.
I could never convey to you what that felt like, to hear that news. As you can imagine, it’s shocking. But it was even more so for me, because I knew exactly what it meant. That boyfriend that I had moved to SF with just lost his mom to pancreatic cancer a little over a year ago, right before we broke up. From the time she was diagnosed to when she died was 9 months.
Pancreatic cancer is very, very serious shit. And even though the next few days were spent doing more tests and confirming things, I knew from the moment I first heard what it was.
But I still had hope. I flew to Texas to start helping out while we waited for a surgery date. She was a good candidate for the Whipple procedure- what Steve Jobs had.
From the time they took her into surgery until the time they came and talked to us was an excruciating three and a half hours. There was no music I could tolerate. Nothing. Instead I browsed Facebook and envied other people’s carefree lives.
And then the doctors are in front of me, matter of factly telling us that they didn’t complete the procedure because the cancer has already spread to her liver. Right there, in a waiting room full of people. I stared at the floor, and everything faded to black.
And then I threw something against the wall and I ran. I ran through the halls of the hospital, screaming for the exit. And then I went outside and sat in the middle of the parking lot, under the hot sun.
My mom is 57 years old. She doesn’t smoke, and barely drinks. There is no rationalizing this, at all.
First and foremost, I thought about how I was going to lose my mother, the one person on the planet who legitimately cares about me. Then, I realized that if I ever have kids, they are not going to have a grandmother. And that sent me down a whole other path of regrets. Should I have settled? I could have already been married and had kids twice. That’s all mom really ever wanted for me….
Do you know what’s it’s like to wake up in the morning and be hit with a wave of dread? 2 weeks of that and it starts to wear on you…I can’t even imagine what it will be like going forward. I try to take things one hour at a time, but it’s hard. It’s really, really hard, especially since I’m an only child.
So, I am quitting my job and moving back to Texas to take care of my mom in about 3 weeks. To say that going from working my corporate entertainment job and going to so many shows and living in the middle of a vibrant city, to being unemployed and living on my parent’s ranch in the middle of nowhere is going to be a lifestyle change is an understatement. But this is the right thing to do.
This site has been my life for the past 3 years, and I hope to still keep it up to some extent. As my friend told me, I’m entering a very unscripted portion of my life right now. It’s very scary.
As I finish up my final shows in SF, I will savor all of the memories I’ve made here. And the best thing is that I can go back and read about all the great times I’ve had whenever I need a pick me up. It’s been a wild ride, San Francisco……and while I may not be leaving my whole heart here, it will definitely always have a piece of it.
Much love to my readers….
~jamie / HRC