It’s Not A Tumor******

Let’s talk about the things you don’t say over text. 

I’m losing the leg.*
Grandma is dead.**
Only the coyotes know what happened to your cat.***
Mom got hit by a suburban.****
Oh the dog wandered off weeks ago. He’s probably dead.****
Dad has a brain tumor.*****

That’s a lot of asterisks so let me break it down for you:

* – this did not happen but it’s reasonable to expect it probably could given **** and *****
** – actually the text was “grandma fell and hit head. been in hospital two days. doesn’t look good.”
*** – phone call, pre-text. The last time anyone in my family handled things in a reasonable way.
**** – actual texts.
***** – also an actual text. received yesterday following an annual physical.

Rather than talk about the fact that I’m on a desperately needed vacation and sharing gorgeous pictures, I’m telling you this so that you can help lighten my load by telling me all of the worst texts you’ve ever received or, barring that, the worst texts you can imagine sending. Bonus points for originality. And, because I know you want to know, it is a tumor******. Operating tomorrow to remove it. Then a biopsy. Then we can get down to panic. I’m still at the beach and feeling like a complete asshole for not zipping back to his side. But with my sisters and aunt flying in to support my mom, and with my constant assumption that every time I see my parents (or my wife, or my daughter, etc.) will be the last time, I feel like I’m good in the goodbye department, if that’s actually the case.

So yeah, at the beach. Was having a lovely time. Now a lovely but worried time. Please, your worst texts…and, GO!

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23 Responses

  1. Worst text? “Mom, can you buy me a pregnancy test?” (received at work.)

    I’m so sorry about your dad and what an awful way to hear about it.

  2. Welllll it wasn’t exactly a text, but I’m pretty sure it still counts.

    Went into Facebook one day to find a status update, hours old, from my then-14yo brother. “On the way to the hospital, mom might have had a heart attack.”

    That’s all it said. I looked in vain for more information on his profile and others with one hand while with the other I frantically called anyone who might know anything. I even called a few hospitals but of course, they wouldn’t release information over the phone. So, from 2,500 miles away, I got to wait, panic, and simultaneously wonder if I should be hopping on a plane right that second.

    Turns out she was fine. And I yelled at her in relief. The end.

    I’m sorry to hear about your dad… I hope he pulls through it!

    • What is wrong with families that they can leave entire people out of the news loop. At least my mom didn’t facebook it first!

  3. I don’t really text, so I can’t really offer my worst one. There was the time I learned on fb my husband was buying a boat while I was out of town, which I guess isn’t awful, but it does seem to be the sort of conversation one would have with your spouse before committing to purchase with your buddies.
    I agree, what a crappy way to hear about it. Ugh. Sending good thoughts your way and I hope bad news is better in a lovely place away from everything. At least you got a break from work, yes? xo

    • Once my dad bought two cars without mentioning it to my mother who was in the middle of a particularly intense thanksgiving baking session. She thought extra guests had arrived when it was really just my mechanic father cluttering up the drive with a few more beaters. Panic ensued and then dismay. I thought the pumpkin pie was particularly bitter that year.

      • Wait, that’s a story from MY childhood! Are you my sister?
        Turns out the boat deal fell through and with his next job change, he got the boat of his dreams as part of the job. Still, I’ve learned my lesson to not leave home.

  4. I don’t know if I’ve gotten anything too terrible, aside from the dreaded, “We need to talk.”

    Talk? About what? Let’s talk! Like, now! Why are you telling me we need to talk if you aren’t actually planning on talking to me for a number of hours or even days? What the hell is going on TELL ME PLEASE OH GOD TELL ME.

    That is not a text people should ever send. People should either call, and then actually talk, or talk the next time they see each other. Texting someone “We need to talk” is just dragging out the emotional roller coaster you’re putting them on for even longer than is needed. If people need to talk, then they should just TALK, rather than cause hours of horrible pre-talk anxiety in whoever they’re dealing with.

    • How can “we need to talk” even be ALLOWED as a text? It should be a no-exception autocorrect. Did you mean “you look lovely today?”. Ugh. We need to talk is worth at least three points in the terrible text game.

  5. I really wish I had something even vaguely humorous to contribute, but my mind is totally blank. I know ridiculous text scenarios exist in my phone, I just can’t think of what they were. Thinking of you though, and hoping everything goes well with surgery and that the biopsy doesn’t lead to panic. Also hoping you can still squeeze some enjoyment out of your beach trip.

    • Well, I did spend the afternoon toes in the sand living life on the edge, in full sun, and liberally spraying a middle ranked (in sunscreen safety) but delicious smelling “tanning sunscreen” all over myself every 15 minutes. I’m pretty sure I’m going to die of all of those things but that hour and some was completely and utterly worth it.

      • I’m kind of jealous. I can’t even look at the sun without SPF 1,000,000. And they don’t make any that smells delicious!

  6. I think the worst text I can imagine is accidentally texting “Babe, you want to fuck me in half tonight?” to my mom.

    Sometimes parents/family have no couth.
    Keep us updated pal.

  7. I get a text from my wife while we are moving that says, “I think Gracie (our cat) may have jumped out of the window. I can’t find her anywhere”. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, except at that point we were living on the third floor, but on the side of the building where the basement was actually above ground, so it was more like 4 floors. I totally flipped out! When I went back to the apartment, we all stayed really quiet for a few minutes, and one at a time we called her. Finally, FINALLY, we heard the faintest meow. She had locked herself in the closet somehow.

    I wish all the texts (and the outcomes) were all that simple. Hoping for the best for your family, and sending love and light and prayers your way friend…

  8. Sorry that super sucks, and I know you were counting on this vacation. Back in the day before texts, I lived in a dorm with a shared phone (apparently I’m Sally Draper). My mom called and was told that I was getting a tattoo-not the worst message I could get, but pretty bad for my mom.

    My estranged wife was on a getaway with her lover and sent me a text that was a link to the REM song “The One I Love.” I think that is the most perplexing text I’ve ever received.

    Thinking good thoughts.

  9. All I got is that time my spouse wanted to talk about something and it was SPIDERS.

  10. These are…impressive. Sorry to hear about the spate of bad news, especially the anxious bits, but I do hope you’re able to squeeze out some more fun and sun from your vacation. I’m assuming you didn’t text anyone back a photo of your feet in the sand and a frou-frou drink in hand?

    Only text that comes to mind is the angry rant my father-in-law’s wife sent after my wife had the nerve to tell her father that she needed to check with me before he booked a his time to come visit.

    In my own family I might be more put off by the texts I *don’t* receive. And by ‘texts’ I actually mean ‘messages’ in general. Things like “your father went to the ER” and “oh yeah, that thing that was an issue and you just ran around like a madwoman trying to figure out a plan b for us actually all resolved now.” You know, the unimportant stuff.

  11. I hope everything goes well for your dad, and I definitely wouldn’t cut short your vacation. He’ll be well taken care of until you get back.

    Hmmm, worst text… Few people text me so I don’t have terrible ones from personal experience. My family is slowly getting better in the “letting you know important medical things as they happen” department, so that’s good.

    Oh! I’ve just remembered a horrible conversation I had with my mom. She called to tell me she had a mammogram and they found a lump, but it turned out to just be dense breast tissue. I was flummoxed, and replied, “I’m glad it wasn’t breast cancer, I don’t want to have gotten breast cancer genes from you.” Open mouth, firmly insert both feet.

  12. Actual text received from sister: “We are looking over the papers that ends life support for dad, do you want in on this?”
    My reply: “No, I am good. Let me know how it goes.”

    If they are asshole enough to send the original, I have no problem being asshole in the response.

    Hope the beach is a reprieve from reality and that the surgery goes well. Thoughts are with you.

  13. I can’t think of any texts I received at the moment…but I hope your dad is ok. Sending good thoughts.

  14. At least they’re communicating these things with you, even if they do so badly? My family is not so good with these things. To wit:

    Me: Hey, we were just calling to see if you guys wanted to skype? (Note: this was at around 7:30 pm, which is later than we usually call, but you know, not that late.)
    Mom: Well, I’m happy to talk, but your dad’s already asleep.
    Me: Oh, does he have a trip coming up? (My dad will shift his sleep schedule in anticipation of trips, to cut down on jetlag.)
    Mom: No, it’s just the concussion.
    Me: WHAT CONCUSSION???
    Mom: Oh, well, you know, he fell and hit his head in February.

    This conversation took place in LATE APRIL. (Or possibly early May.) We talk weekly on average, so it’s not like they would have even needed to call me specially to share this news…

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