patient n tough

One of my favorite Rolling Stones songs goes:

“You can’t always get what you want

But if you try sometimes you find,

You get what you need”

I try to let this be my motto for life. It seems that we don’t often get what we want but life has a funny way of dishing out exactly what we need. The most painful and difficult situations have led me to be the strong, independent and resilient woman I am today. I don’t take back any of the struggle.

However recently I have been feeling like I’ve got more than my fair share. What is it I am needing right now? Is it God, the Universe, Fate? Who is testing my limits to love deeper and forgive greater?

Earlier this summer my birth mother, Kim, who I haven’t seen much in the last 20 years, came back in to my life, with the familiar promise of sobriety and wanting another chance.

I had just written a post about mother’s day, the pain she had caused me my entire life and how I had become better because of it. I had learned to take care of myself and to heal the deepest wounds. Now I was being faced with the challenge of putting my forgiveness and unconditional love to the test.  I reluctantly took her to lunch.

She was sober and going to AA meetings, seeing doctors and actively looking for work and housing, by using the computer at the public library. I debated on weather or not I was even going to answer her text message when she said she was back in San Diego for doctors appointments but I knew that I had never really made an effort to try to help her. Maybe this was my chance to really give her the forgiveness and love she needed through action. She had no one else. Every other good bridge was burned and the others had very ugly trolls under them.

I could see how hard she was trying and so I took the time to drive her to appointments instead of her taking the bus. I got her a phone so she could leave her number on job applications and lent her the laptop I had bought for my little brother to start his sophomore year of high school with. I set her up with profiles on sites like, and couch surfer, helping her with her first ever email account and even let her stay at one of my Airbnb rentals during the busiest time of the summer.

I figured if I was going to give her any of my help I was going to give 100%. Because even if it didn’t work out, I know I tried my best. I gave everything I could.

Then she went missing.

She didn’t answer any of my calls on the phone I bought her. She stopped emailing me updates and my brother hadn’t heard from her either. For a month. I was actually worried something might have happened to her, or that she was just high in a van somewhere.

She resurfaced last week, bloodied and broke, no computer or phone, but some crazy story about being robbed by homeless people. It didn’t matter what she said. She could have said she was kidnapped by ninjas.

I am mad at myself for knowing it was going to happen that way. I am sad for my brother, who was trying to defend her crazy story and insisting it was okay, hoping to keep me from being upset.

I hadn’t even told him I had bought him the computer because I wanted it to be a surprise. I never want to disappoint him like she always does.

It didn’t matter. She had “lost” the computer AND told him about it. Double damnit.

My good deeds totally blew up in my face again and I have no choice but to pretend like it is all okay. I don’t want Kellen to be any more in the middle of the crappy situation and I know that being mad will do nothing to change anything. It never has and never will.

Biggest lesson in all of this, I guess.

At the same time I got a call from my dad. “Sue has breast cancer.”


How is this possible? Sue is the healthiest person I know. Since the time she and my dad started dating about 15 years ago I could remember her eating organic and only buying all natural products. She does yoga and meditates every day. 

I feel so guilty saying this, but I was expecting my birth mom to get sick already. I’m surprised she has made it this far. How could Sue be the one getting sick? Its Kim who deserves it. Kim has been poisoning herself for decades. She abandoned me when I was 5 because she couldn’t stop getting fucked up.

When my brother was younger I would explain to him about her disease. I said “Some people’s moms get sick with cancer, our mom is sick with addiction”

Damn, now I’ve got both.

Sue loves me and taught me about thrift shopping, crafting and conscious living. Sue got me my first marketing consulting job with a non profit she worked with. Sue was there for me even when I was a total asshole. She put up with me and my dad’s bickering and taught us to be more patient and kind to each other. Sue has mothered me into the woman I am today. 

So, why does  bad stuff happen to good people? 

I guess because we can handle it. Sue has been the most positive and action oriented person I have ever seen, dealing with a couple aggressive cancerous tumors. She continues to inspire me with her grace and the outlook she is keeping on this situation. 

Her strength gives me strength to handle these lemons that are constantly being thrown. 

Meanwhile, Kim is battling addiction and mental illness that I think is her fault. I am mad and I feel so sad for her. She has allowed her life to go down a path that is so empty, lonely and sick.

I can’t do anything else for her but love her and forgive her.

I can do something for Sue.

I have put together a fundraising campaign, like the many I have done in the past, to help my parents with the incredible medical bills that are racking up just this month. With the low dose chemo treatment and nutrition therapy that Sue needs, medical bills this month are close to $23,000. Insurance doesn’t cover it and their park ranger pensions don’t cover much either.

Fundraising to help my parents is the least I can do to help repay them a tiny bit for the endless love and support they have shown me all these years. Sue did not have to step up to be there for me the way she did but she did it with true unconditional love and I am sad to get the opportunity to show her gratitude this way, but hey,

“You can’t always get what you want

But if you try sometimes you find,

You get what you need”

To learn more about Sue Pelley’s cancer treatment watch the video below or visit our GoFundMe page. Thank you.