It was almost 10 years ago when my 47 year old mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that spread to her bones. It came as a total shock to us as she was young, vibrant and so full of life. My world stopped that day. How could this be happening to us? To her? But I guess it has to happen to somebody.
I knew the chances of survival were low as I researched anything I possibly could. She did so well on treatment for a few months until that dreaded day in April of 2013 when the doctors told us there was fluid on her lungs and heart and there was not much more they could do. They told us she had about a month left. I could not accept that. I cried and scream and fought like hell to make those doctors see how important she was to her family and friends. They came back later on that day and told us they would try surgery. There was hope again, even if it was the smallest glimpse of it. She made it through her surgery and came home from the hospital. About two weeks later she was back in the hospital and everything started to take a turn for the worst. I still did not give up hope. I called every single lung specialist I could find and finally found a doctor at NYU that agreed to take on her case as long as she could be transferred safely. The next task was getting her strong enough to be able to take that hour and a half ride into New York City. She never made it to that hospital and wound up passing away 9 short months after her battle with lung cancer.
It was the most devastating time in my life. I was just 24 years old and I couldn’t see how I was going to go on without her. She was not only my mother but she was my friend, my biggest fan..my world.
May 27th of this year will mark ten years without her. I look back and still cannot believe it’s been that long. It went so fast and so slow all at the same time. There are so many things she has missed and my heart breaks knowing how bad she wanted to stay here to watch me and my sister grow, to spend the rest of her life with my dad, and to enjoy time with her friends.
My relationship with my mom did not end the day she died. I still see her in the sun shining down on a warm spring day, I feel her in the wind when I am driving with my windows down, blasting her favorite songs. I see her in the faces of my beautiful nieces, I remember her when I’m cooking her favorite foods. I talk to her in silence and tell her all she has missed. I find strength and comfort knowing how strong she was and how proud she would be of all I have done. I think of all she has taught me over the 24 years that I had with her. 24 years doesn’t seem like enough time but her wisdom and knowledge of life shaped me into who I am today. She will forever be such a big part of who I am and I believe I received more love from her than some people will ever receive in a lifetime.
Everyone dies. Unfortunately some sooner than others. What matters is how they lived and what they leave behind.
I will never stop telling people stories of her, I will never stop remembering her and all that she loved.
Thank you Mom, for still showing me the way. I miss you.