I said goodbye to my Mother on the night of February 23rd, 2017. I watched her take her last breath. She was sick. After being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer January 2014, it was a long three years of chemotherapy, radiation, doctor’s appointments, & everything else in between that the disease brings to your life.
There were good days & bad days. And there were really, really bad days. Moments that would literally bring me to my knees had become just another normal day for her. While she never complained once, the struggle was real. Although I am a grown woman, she never stopped being my mother. Even when she couldn’t get out of bed.
Weeks before her initial diagnosis, my mom & I had finally booked her dream trip; a week in New York City. As soon as we found out the news she calmly said to me, ‘We are just going to have to put our trip on hold for a little while.’
A pause is all we needed, because in October 2015, Mom & I finally got that dream trip of hers. My heart is so full that she was able to see the big apple before she left us. In fact, she squeezed in multiple trips during those three years. That’s how strong she was.
She was always there for us. Always. Whatever we pursued, she supported. If we became fascinated with something, she would jump on board. I remember Facetiming her from Cambodia last year and telling her how much I loved learning about the country & its people. Before you knew it, she had ordered a stack of books on Cambodia & was elbow deep researching their culture. I loved that about her. I loved how she was so willing to read & learn every day.
You could fill an entire room with the books in her house. An endless supply of fiction, biographies, & real life stories. You couldn’t find her a new book fast enough in the last few months of her life. She wanted nothing more than for her students to be able to enjoy reading.
I was able to have 28 years with my mom. It was not enough. It will never be enough. My heart hurts so much now that she is gone, & some days it is unbearable. I hurt for my sister, who only got 26 years, & I hurt for my Dad, who lost the love of his life. I hurt for my Grandma, who struggles with dementia & has to be reminded that her daughter is gone. But most of all I hurt for her future grandchildren that she will never be able to meet. They will never know this amazing woman who was my everything.
And although these initial days are hard, I know that it will get better. I know that even though the 28 years was not enough, I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. I really did have the best mom. She was fiercely quiet. Passionate. Humble. Kind. Strong. Beautiful. Supportive. Thoughtful. Amazing. She never judged. She was always there. I got to share her with wonderful people who saw her for how incredible she was & who loved her.
My Mom was always there to watch me dance, to celebrate my victories, & to cry with me during the losses. She was my biggest supporter in finding a career that I was crazy in love with. She was always the first to praise a new photo, & to read my newsletter. Family & happiness was the number one accomplishment she wanted for my sister & I.
The support that has come our way since Mom died has been immense. Never have I felt so cared for & loved, something that she always did for me. I can only hope to return the favour when it is needed. Thank you.
Today is my Mom’s 56th birthday. It is still inconceivable that she only had that much time on earth. After she passed, we found a sealed envelope addressed to my sister & I. My Mom had hand written us a 21 page letter. I will treasure that letter for the rest of my life; one of the last things she did for us.
My mom said that she had raised us to be strong girls & that we would make it through. She told us not to be sad for her as she had made peace with her illness. And lastly, that we would be together again one day.
One day, Mom.
I miss you. I love you.