The Best Worst Reason To Get A Plane Ticket

The Best Worst Reason To Get A Plane Ticket

Honeymoon.

Sailing on the South China Sea off the coast of Hong Kong.
Sailing on the South China Sea off the coast of Hong Kong.

Traveling the world as a news correspondent.

Covering Oscars' Red Carpet. Took about 4 hours and a lot of hidden tape to get to look like this.
Covering Oscars’ Red Carpet. Took about 4 hours and a lot of hidden tape to get to look like this.

Volunteering at an orphanage in Africa.

Most meaningful Christmas ever with the wonderful little girls of Hekima Place. (hekimaplace.org) I'm tall, but not THAT tall. Taking advantage of open air bungalow with a second story at giraffe sanctuary.
Most meaningful Christmas ever with the wonderful little girls of Hekima Place. (hekimaplace.org) I’m tall, but not THAT tall. Taking advantage of open air bungalow with a second story at giraffe sanctuary.

I’ve had a lot of great reasons to get on a plane.

I now have the best worst one.

“The doctor called with the test results,” my mother said on the phone last week from the other side of the country. “The biopsy shows I have a low-grade form of lymphoma.”

The air sucked out of the room and everything on my calendar instantly turned to pencil.

We now face what so many families do—

How do you care for a parent living far away?

My tiny spitfire of a mother, who by all accounts, is one-of-kind.
My tiny spitfire of a mother, who by all accounts, is one-of-kind.

“I’m the only one of my friends who doesn’t have children living here in town,” my mother has pointed out in recent years.

That might be the case for Mom’s immediate circle but I know our family looks like so many others, perhaps ever yours, Dear Reader.

The three of us kids are scattered across the globe having made lives, careers and families far from where we grew up.

None of us has any interest in moving back to our hometown.

And my mother has no interest in leaving it.

The lure of being close to grandchildren and family who could help care for her doesn’t come close to staying in the same five-square mile area she has spent her 78 years.

We might not understand each other’s choices, but we respect them.

Which leads us to now.

To lymphoma, to a low-grade form of chemotherapy, to something my mom is not looking forward to, especially alone.

And so we kids are doing what we can. Calling in favors to help care for kids, rearrange work schedules, and yes, get on a plane.

I took dibs on being there for her first chemo treatment.

“So what do you wear to a first chemo treatment?” I asked knowing Mom puts a premium on how you dress, no matter what the occasion.

“You’re coming all this way? It’s going to be so boring,” she protested as part of our dance.

“It’ll be, what it’ll be, but it won’t go well if I’m not dressed right.”

“In that case,” she relented, “jeans, an adorable sweater, and comfy shoes should pull you together.”

So, my things are packed. There’s a good chance my outfit won’t be cute enough, my stay won’t be long enough.

I’ll give it my best, just as my brother and sister will do what they can.

My mom will do her best to fight.

I’m leaving on a jet plane.

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 1.48.25 PM

The first of what will likely be many trips to the West Coast in the coming months.

I can’t think of a better worst reason to go.

Find more uplifting stories on my website, DarynKagan.com

Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.

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