Picking up the Pieces on AO3
Picking up the Pieces on FicPad
“Mom, deep breaths,” I soothed, rubbing her back. She was huddled over the toilet, sobbing as she threw up. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and was battling it valiantly. Unfortunately, this was her second bout with the disease and the prognosis wasn’t good. She was skin and bones. The double mastectomy she underwent did little to stop the disease as it already spread to her lymph nodes, attacking them aggressively. The chemo was preventing the cancer from spreading elsewhere, but it was only a matter of time. “Do you want some water?”
“Not yet,” she said faintly. “Can you get me my meds?”
Sighing, I nodded. Walking into her bedroom, I picked up her joint. Washington State had legalized medical marijuana. It was the only thing that helped with the nausea and vomiting. It also relaxed her so she could be with us, not in a medically induced stupor. I sat down on the bathtub, lighting the joint and passing it to her. She took a few hits, her breathing evening out. “Better?” I asked.
“Yeah,” she said.
“Do you want more?” I asked.
“No. I just need to sit here,” she mumbled, leaning against the cabinet. “Shouldn’t you be at work?”
“Dad called me. He said you were having a rough day. Charlie was understanding when I called in, but I have to work the overnight shift on Halloween so he can go trick or treating with his grandkids,” I said, snuffing out the joint. “It’s a fair trade.”
“No, it’s not. You should be in Washington D.C., working at the FBI,” Esme said, adjusting her head scarf. “Not taking care of your sickly mother.”
“Mom, I’m right where I want to be,” I said, smiling as softly as I could. “You need me. Dad needs me. I’m not going to abandon my family.”
“I’ll guess we’ll just agree to disagree,” she quipped, arching her brow.
“It’s what we do best, Mom,” I snorted.