This month, February 25th, marks the 1st anniversary of losing my mom to cancer. I am not going to lie, the past year or so has been a lot tougher than the previous years. Actually, it down right sucked since my mom passed away!
However, through all the hardships and down times, strength and good prevailed. During those challenging moments I was able to reflect on what I have learned living as a motherless daughter this past year.
I have learned a few things over the year… a few I never could have imagined, a few that already knew just refused to believe and few I thought were true but turned out not to be…
I am stronger than I ever thought possible. Since the day I went into labor with baby #3, my life seemed like a roller coaster in overdrive. ♦Hubby took a new job that required him to travel and be away from home for 6-8 months at a time. ♦Finding out I was pregnant with baby #4 when #3 was still an infant herself (4.5 months old). ♦Having my gallbladder removed (while pregnant but didn’t know yet). ♦Moving to a new town (selling, renting buying one all at the same time). ♦Having baby #4 whom spent 24 hours in the NICU. ♦My mom being diagnosed with lung cancer shortly after having the baby…all within 365 days. I was able to manage to keep myself and the kids alive and well, not lose any important items (or furniture), and adjust accordingly in the mist of it all. GO ME!!!
Life is not a fairy tale. Not that I ever believed that life WAS ever a fairy tale, the past year has certainly confirmed that belief. Life is never easy, no matter how good you have it, sometimes it hard to place one foot in front of the next. Its just all on how you handle and perceive the hand you are dealt with. ♦Shortly after my mom was diagnosed, she was on her way to her first treatment when she fell down the steps and broke her ankle. To make things a bit easier on her and my dad, we suggested them to move in with us (we had a handicap accessible bed & full bath on our first floor). ♦Watching my mom recover from her broken ankle, lose her hair (and voice) from chemo and radiation, and get the hell beat our of her from her cancer treatments was enough to make me cry myself to sleep…that definitely does not happen in fairy tales. ♦But through it all, my mom always (well tried to at least) had a smile on her face, a positive outlook and her faith and hope on the LORD. ♦No matter how hard I wished she was Snow White or Sleeping Beauty lying there in her casket, no ‘true love’ kiss was going to bring her back. She is now with the one and only true Prince Charming…God.
Time may heal wounds, but the pain leaves a scar. The pain of losing someone NEVER goes away. The pain of losing my mom is like no pain I have ever experienced before. ♦This pain is with me the moment I wake up to the moment I fall back to sleep again (if that even happens). Every where I look, everywhere I go, something I do, something some one says reminds me of her, which IS a good thing. ♦This pain may fade some days. This pain may dig deeper other days. But it is ALWAYS there. (Even the pain from labor and having a C-section eventually disappeared) ♦Eventually, you learn to live with the pain, it becomes the new NORM, a part of you. Something you just “go with” but can’t explain. ♦Days and nights seem to get easier, but thats not because the pain is going way, just the fact that I have learned to accept it and cope better with it.
You find to who your TRUE friends are. People always say that if you need anything just call, don’t hesitate to ask. But I believe that if they truly wanted to help, they would just do it…NO questions asked. ♦The night my mom became an angel, 2 of the greatest gals dropped everything, showed up at my house with mounds of food to feed an army and covered me with hugs, love, support and prayer. They have always been there, but that night proved they were going NOWHERE!!! and they haven’t, even if I tried to get rid of them…LOL ♦Friends from years past showed up my door with condolences, hugs and of course food. Reminiscing on old memories brought a smile to my face and made it a tiny bit bearable to get through those blurry funeral days. ♦My mom touched so many lives and they were all there to return the love she gave them. She was an amazing woman!
God is in control. I am a firm believer that NOTHING happens ‘by chance’. I believe and have always believed that God is in control and His hand is on EVERYTHING! But I do have to admit there are times that it was hard to believe it when you couldn’t see it, or feel it. Even the bad things happen for a reason. Because of God I am where I am today. ♦God blessed me with a new baby that brought me back to my hometown to be closer to my parents for help. But it turned out that I was the one who helped them, when my mom got sick and broke her ankle. ♦God blessed my husband with a good job to provide for us in all the chaos of new babies, moves, and cancer diagnosis. ♦God opened up doors to the right homes at the right time (having to rent before selling and buying). When we finally did purchase our new home, moved in and got settled, my mom was said to be cancer free. But only two months later it returned (in her liver) with vengeance and took her away from us. Shortly after her death, my dad moved in to our guest room to help me with the kids while my husband went back on the road for work. Waking up with the kids loving on him every morning was the best medicine that he could have received and for me, having him here so I wasn’t completely alone was the best medicine for me. My dad once said that he is thankful for this house and the timing of our move…because of it, we don’t have all the memories here with my mom that we do elsewhere. Which is not necessarily a bad/sad thing.
There is not a moment that goes by that I don’t think about my mom, am reminded of her, or even have the urge to pick up the phone to call her. There are days that it feels like she left us yesterday and then there are days that it feels like years since she lost her battle. Tears seem to fall less often, but still are as heavy as the day she died. At times there are more happy tears (remembering her crazy antics) than there are sad tears (thinking of the time my kids will not have with her as they grow up).
Yes, death is a part of life! No matter the circumstance and how how you try, one can’t prepare themselves for the loss. And there is no doubt that one will experience losing a loved one. My hope and prayer is that it is sooner than later.