Welcome to the comments and discussion of Chapter 10: R2, Where Are You? of the book, I’m Just A Person by Tig Notaro! Catch up on Chapter 1: Over My Mother’s Dead Body, Chapter 2: Are You My Mother, Chapter 3: The Downfall, Chapter 4: Saying Good-Bye, Chapter 5: Letting Go, Chapter 6: Diagnosis, Chapter 7: Largo, Chapter 8: Looking Down, and Chapter 9: God Never Gives You More Than You Can Handle.
Let’s get started! Chapter 10!
There’s a lot in this chapter to hold (speaking of our chapter 9 revelations…). When a close loved one dies, a hole inevitably opens up. Everyone’s role in the family moves around a little to accommodate the hole. Sometimes these role changes work well for us, individually, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes someone clings to rules or traditions or anything else, in an effort to maintain some degree of control over the world around them, and in doing so, alienates those they desire to become closer to.
When my mother died, I also knew that “parents” now meant something very different. Before she died, I hadn’t realized how quiet my dad was. I would call and talk to him for a few minutes and then I’d be passed to my mom for the longer conversation. Or my dad would be on the line while my mom and I chatted but he’d remain fairly quiet. We’d always been two peas in a pod, me and my dad. I’d helped in the basement or the garage or in home-repair projects growing up. We’d biked together and hiked together. It wasn’t until my dad and I were having entire conversations without my mother that I realized how much my dad can talk about things that I don’t care much about…cars for instance. (I have to add that it is entirely possible that I talk at length about stuff that doesn’t interest my dad much too!) Now, as an engineer, I love engines and the mechanics of things, but watching a television show about cars…for fun…not really my cup of tea. Now, all of a sudden, we were watching entire series of television shows about cars and youtube videos about cars. Blugh! 🙂 It felt like I was being misunderstood by someone who should have known me…but that wasn’t a fair way of looking at it. My dad was just starting to navigate a brand new world without my mom, just like I was, and we each had a little give and take to offer the situation. Years later, my dad and I are much better now at compromising over television shows, and many other life situations.
Can you relate to this idea of family dynamics changing after the death of a loved one? Or, even without someone dying, cancer brings about monumental shifts in relationships, does it not?
Thanks for joining us for Chapter 10: R2, Where Are You? of I’m Just A Person! Join in next Monday for Chapter 11: Pat.
If you’re just joining us, here are some logistics:
We will talk about a chapter each Monday until the book is done. Then, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss. Join in, in the comments every week! At the end, we’ll have a book club discussion via video chat! Also, there will probably be spoilers. Read along with us!
How are you enjoying our young adult cancer book club?