The odd one out

photo 1It’s hard feeling like the odd one out. I am an introvert in an extroverted family. I crave silence, and while I love to see my friends, I re-energise by myself.

Mum is an extrovert, not that she would say that she is ‘out there’ or anything, but she is an extrovert or ‘someone who is concerned chiefly with what is external or objective’ (Macquarie Dictionary). Another way it was described to me in the early nineties during that whole Myers Briggs movement, is that an extrovert is someone who gains energy from others whereas an introvert is someone whose energy is drawn by others.

In times like this, where every minute matters as Mum heads rapidly to death, I have to go with what she wants. And that is to be surrounded constantly by people and to fill up on her energy from them all. In her words, she’s have a revolving party at her place.

Mum has a social calendar to fit all of her visitors around her appointments. It looks like something a socialite may have, not that she would call herself that. Only a month ago she and I were having a conversation about loneliness – a condition she discovered fifteen years ago when Dad died. I argued with her that actually she had a large number of friends and that they all love to see her. Now joy has replaced this loneliness as she constantly catches up with family and friends from all parts of her life.

This week she started radiotherapy. She went about it in her normal non-fuss way. After her second appointment she was scheduled to see the nurse. There was a little wait. Mum looked at her watch numerous times and glared at the nurse’s office door. ‘Do you want me to say something?’ I asked. She said no, but that she was wanting to leave as she had visitors coming for lunch.

As my osteo, who also knows her, said, ‘Your mum’s a public figure in this community.’

This community and beyond. But she also my mum.

The future is certain for her, but we still don’t know how long we have with her. The biopsy she had last week confirms adenocarinoma (or cancer of a gland, probably the pancreas or bile duct). The pain in her spine is relentless, but the nausea is under control. The ever increasing packets of pills line the kitchen bench much to her disgust. She’s still planning to finish crocheting a rug she started in January and has planned a ballooning trip for her kids and their spouses.

Either way I know it’s a short time, and somewhere in that short time, I have to carve out my moments with her or just go with the flow.


This is the second post in a series about my mother’s journey to her death.

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