a lonely daughter
My mom died from breast cancer. Writing that still feels unreal.
She was the strongest, happiest, funniest, person I'd ever met. At times I was 100% sure she was crazy. But she was my best, and sometimes my only friend. She had breast cancer the first time when I was in elementary school. She was in remission for 5 years before it returned. This time it was terminal. The doctors told her she had about 14 months and she promised my brother and I she would last 3-5 years. She lasted about 4. She wanted to see me get into college. I graduated a year early so that she could, but the year that I went away to school, was her last year on earth. I did not know it at the time, but my subconscious prevented me from succeeding that year because I think I knew, I should have been at home. I went home the summer after my freshman year at college, and my mom told me she was tired, that she needed some more help around the house. My brother was in Iraq and my dad left us 4 year ago. I was happy to help. I'd do anything for her. I tried to put a lot of effort into cooking so that she would put a lot of effort into eating. she did her best. I did everything I could but I'm only 18. She was still working, part-time disability, mostly for the health care. About a month after I got home there was a week where my mom did not get out of bed much and she really didn't seem to be doing well. I did not know it at the time but she'd been off chemo for awhile because her white blood cell count was low. she went to work on thursday for a few hours but I knew something was wrong. I called her doctor and set up an appointment for Friday. We went in and he noticed that she was a little jaundiced. Thats when he told me to try to get my brother home. I was sure that he was jumping the gun a bit but I was happy for an excuse to get my brother home from war. So i took my mom to the hospital for a CT and some other tests and began calling the red cross. That weekend I took her home and we talked a bit and she said she was "going to bounce back. chemo patients get sick a lot." We had an appointment monday morning and when I went to wake her up I knew we were going back to the hospital. She was much more jaundiced and could not make it up the stairs. I had to ask my boyfriend to carry her. I think she was embarrassed. That night I went home to sleep for a few hours and return before she woke up. But shortly after leaving the hospital I received a call that she had been found wandering the halls screaming my brothers name. I raced back and didn't even acknowledge the people who tried to tell me i was to young to see my mom. She was no longer lucid, and never would be again. I spent the next 5 days watching her endure excruciating pain and counting every breath she had until... they just stopped. Then I was supposed to leave. My brother didn't make it.
I still feel like i am in that room. In fact, it was 5 months ago, but it still feels like I am sitting, waiting, for an outcome. Waiting for my mom to recover. For her to tell me how proud she is of me. To tell me how strong I've been. To respond one last time.
I can not explain to you the depths of grief.
But mostly I worry about her. Where she is now? Is she ok? Was she happy? How could I have done more? Was she lonely? Was she scared? What was her experience?
She didn't like to talk about her cancer. She preferred to celebrate her life every moment that she could. Which is beautiful in its own way. But there are times I wish we'd talked about it more. We talked about it on occasion but it was so hard for both of us. And she wanted to be strong for me.
I'm not sure why exactly I am writing this on here. perhaps it will help some one else, some how. I know I feel comforted by reading other peoples experiences. Or perhaps it is just because I don't know who else will know what I am talking about. I've never met another person in my situation. I often wonder if they exist.