I ran across a quote in a book I am reading by author Gillian Flynn that reminds me so much of my mother: "She of the rocket science brain and the rodeo spirit."
It is this dichotomy that I believe made my mother so engaging to so many people. There's no doubt that she has always been brilliant, but along with brilliance often comes arrogance. In other cases, a brilliant brain makes for a very boring person. Anyone who knows my mother can say without a doubt that she is neither arrogant nor boring. In fact, she is almost the perfect blend of kind, with a wicked sense of humor. In short, her brilliance never made her condescend, but it did give her the ability to be perceptive about others and the world around her.
It is very hard to watch this perfect blend of rocket science and rodeo spirit be damaged by something as evil and ravenous as brain cancer. No one deserves this, but when it comes to a rare gem like my mother, it seems even more unfair because her mere presence has always made the universe a little bit brighter.
The last twenty-four hours was brightened a little bit by an exquisite care package from Nancy C. containing a wonderful assortment of ice creams that Madeline is adoring. She has no interest in worrying about what she eats at this point, reminding me constantly of "the women who skipped dessert on the Titanic."
Our other bright spot was a visit from the lovely Marta today who was able to cheer Mom up with stories from the hallowed halls of the Chester County Courthouse and how things are going in her absence. Marta has a way of telling a story that captivates, even if you don't know the people involved. She made Madeline laugh for the first time all week.
Flowers keep coming. Thank you all so much for your kindness. Her face lights up when the doorbell rings and a new, beautiful arrangement arrives at the door. Your cards and CaringBridge posts also mean so much to her.
Somehow, I think while brain cancer can take a lot of things away, one thing it can't kill is a rodeo spirit ...
"Rodeo Spirit" is an excerpt from Amanda Lamb's journal chronicling her mother Madeline's 2012 battle with brain cancer. To read more entries, visit Madeline's CaringBridge site, or find out more about Amanda's book, "The Living Room."