Wednesday, July 6 2022 - 8:39 AM
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Mom’s Cancer

I was 13 years old in the summer of 2011 and looking forward to going into the seventh grade. But one day turned my life into a nightmare.

For some time, my mother Mary had been experiencing abdominal pain and could not figure out why. She had come home from a doctor’s appointment, and with a serious look on her face, Mom said to me and my siblings, “I have cancer.”

I never thought I would hear those words come from my mom’s mouth, but reality had quickly set in. Is my mother going to die? was the question I pondered in my mind. I did not want her to die.

My mother reassured us that doctors were going to do everything in their power to remove the cancer. Despite her reassuring words, I constantly worried.

Shortly after the diagnosis, Mom went into surgery to have the cancer removed, and during that time our older brother came to stay with us. The surgery went well, but the doctors were not able to remove the cancer entirely. My mother began weekly chemotherapy, and it was hard to see her lose her hair and become so frail.

After her treatment began, she wore wigs, and despite being tired, Mom stayed emotionally strong. Seeing her weak left me numb on the inside. Knowing I could not do anything to take away her cancer left me angry.

Why does my mother have to be sick? My family and I have endured enough hardship in our lives. We can’t lose her to this disease.

During my seventh and eighth grades, my mother’s cancer went from being manageable to spreading aggressively. Fast forward to June 2013 when I graduated from middle school. Despite her cancer battle, she was in the audience and supported me as I walked across the stage; I could see her tears of joy.

As the fall rolled around and I entered high school, her cancer worsened and  continued to spread. She became so weak that one night paramedics came to the apartment and assisted her down the stairs from the third floor of our apartment to take her to the hospital.

What I Didn’t Know

As my older brother and I were on the way to the grocery store, he shared some shocking news about Mom’s cancer. He said, “Mom is not telling you everything.”

What is there to know? I thought.

He  told me that our mother had stage four cancer, and the doctors were not giving her long to live. My life fell apart in an instant. I was angry, baffled, all-in-all emotionally wrecked, and I wanted to scream. Even though we were aware of my Mom’s cancer struggle, we never thought she would lose the battle.

My mother’s final days were spent at a hospice facility. The first and last time I visited her in hospice, she was lying on the bed heavily sedated. I told her I loved her, coming to terms with the fact that this might be the last time I saw her.

A couple of days later my uncle, accompanied by my mother’s friend and her husband, delivered the news to me and my siblings that our mother had passed away. Since November 8, 2013, my life has never been the same. This wonderful friend and her husband took us under their wings, and it was through God’s leading and how they witnessed to me that I was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 2014.

I grew up with no religious foundation, and after Mom passed away, I needed hope. Giving my life to God has changed my life in so many ways. Despite my mother’s passing, and the emotional pain that comes with loss, I am truly happy to be in God’s care and where I am today. My mother would be so proud of me.

If you liked this, you might also like “Cancer” On My Resume | Facing Loss: When Hope and Grief Co-Exist

Esther Taylor writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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About Esther Taylor

Esther Taylor

writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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