My Catapult essay “Let Me Pass Away”: When Your Mother Blames You For Your Cancer Diagnosis

“My mother assumed I must have done something to bring a rare blood cancer upon myself.”

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“Let me pass away, nobody bother you, my mother texted after yet another of our phone arguments.

She blamed me for my cancer.

She also blamed the ghosts of the victims of 9/11. She blamed the fact that I’d worked in Lower Manhattan for two years, inhaling all those thirteen-year-old fumes from the fallen Twin Towers. She blamed my urban “lifestyle” of eating out at restaurants. She blamed my daring to leave the Bay Area suburbs where I grew up. She blamed my wife’s preference for turning up the heat in the winter. Buoyed by the infallible teachings of her favorite TV medical practitioner, Dr. Oz, she blamed my diet. She assumed I must have done something to bring a rare blood cancer, myelodysplastic syndrome, upon myself.”

Read the rest at Catapult