I was 30 and my sister was 25.
I remember like yesterday laying on the couch when I got the call from my mom.
"Are you sitting down? The Doctor thinks I have cancer."
Her voice sounded so innocent... and so scared. My heart dropped into the pit of my stomach as I darted up and shouted "WHAT?!"
My mom was my best friend. We did everything together. She was the sweetest, most warm hearted person I've ever known. She loved everyone and everyone loved her.
We called each other 4 to 5 times a day, we saw each other nearly every other day. Saturdays were always reserved for lunch and shopping. We had our traditions like Black Friday shopping, the day after Christmas shopping, festivals and craft fairs. She loved to cook and made family dinners on Sundays.
"She's too young" I would think, "there is no way she has cancer...she's fine."
They put her through the ringer all of March trying to figure out what kind of cancer she had. I tried to pump her up and tell her she would beat whatever it was. Deep down, I had this sick feeling she was leaving me soon. She would cry and cry and I just hugged her while in denial.
You see, she never had any symptoms. She reminded me of the energizer bunny, she was always going and going and doing it all with a smile on her face. She was always happy, laughing and goofing off. There was no way she had cancer, but she did.
She had stage 4B stomach cancer. The Doctor made it seem like everything would be okay, so we had hope. But...she died just a few months after diagnosis and it was a shock.
I didn't know how to process it, and honestly... I still don't. I have never resonated more with the quote "take one day at a time" than I do now.
I felt like we tried everything we could from chemo to immunotherapy to natural remedies. It felt like she just wasn't meant to stay on this earth, it was her time to go. It all happened so fast.
My kids loved her so much and she loved them hard. My sister just had her first baby when this all happened, and now her daughter will never get to know her grandma.
I imagine if you're reading this blog post, you're in a similar boat. I remember when she came home on hospice, I sat next to her as she was unconscious and I tried to read all of the articles I could. I searched and searched for something to bring me peace. I couldn't understand why she was leaving me but I knew she was, so I had to figure out how I would ever get through this. I remember thinking there was no way in hell I would pull through this.
Let me tell you though, I have...and my darling, you will too.
Moms are sacred so it's absolute torture when they leave us. My mom was so special, so good to me and my husband and kids. She was an amazing wife, daughter and friend. I'm so grateful for the time we shared together. I was so blessed to have such an amazing mom.
It hurts from day to day. Just tonight I found her dress in my closet that she wore to my wedding. I held it and cried, then hung it up next to my wedding dress. I just had my first Christmas without her, and Christmas was HER holiday. I bawled as I decorated the tree. My son cries because he misses her, and all I know to do is hold onto him. I have flashbacks of our fun memories and cry because I'll never make another one with her. The phone will ring and I will think "oh it's probably mom" then stop myself. Something good will happen to the kids at school, and I will pick up my phone to want to tell her.
It's going to hurt, it's going to hurt like hell and it's okay.
I find myself continuing to ask myself day in and day out, how is this real? How is SHE gone? This is something you never see coming.
I was supposed to be in my 50s before even thinking about losing my mom. The sad reality is that there are so many people out there that lose their moms even younger than me. I have to be grateful for the 30 incredible years I got.
I didn't take enough pictures, and it makes me sick. I knew she had cancer, I should've taken all the pictures in the world but I was in denial so I didn't.
Turning the Page
I know she's with me all the time. Your mom is with you all the time, too.
People would tell me this, but I took it with a grain of salt thinking they were just trying to make me feel better. However, now that she's actually gone, I FEEL her with me. It's something I can't really explain. I miss her like damn hell physically, but I believe she is with me and our family at all times.
After she died, I read every book I could find to help me understand "Heaven" and the "other side." I talk to her every day, and I know she hears me. I've had a medium tell me things that no one would know other than my mom. I started following mediums like Matt Fraser and Allison DuBois... I recommend their books very highly. Seriously, they'll help you.
I get signs from my mom. I find pennies with her birth year on them, I see blue birds (she told me to think of her when I saw a blue bird) and I have electrical issues all the time. I find feathers, and so do my kids...blue feathers. I see tons of numbers lined up like 444, 555 and 1111. It's her and I know it.
I really believe that we don't die, I think death is an illusion. I believe we just change forms, we leave our physical bodies and go back to the spiritual world where we came from.
I know she wants me to live my best life. She wouldn't want me to spend all of my time sad and depressed. She's only gone in the physical world, I can't see her. That doesn't mean she isn't still here watching me and seeing every milestone. She is still witnessing everything I do. I can't disappoint her by crawling under a rock and giving up on life. No, she wants me to take care of my babies and myself and live just as if she were still here.
She lived a wonderful life on earth, doing good for others and always smiling. She left a real legacy behind. Now it's up to me to live my best life while I'm on earth and make her proud. I know her and I will meet up again when it's time for me to leave the physical world, and until then... I have to do what I came to earth to do: experience. Earth and the physical world is all about experiencing things. What can we do while we are here to learn from and make a difference?
I think another thing that helped me is, I asked myself: what would I want my children to do if I died tomorrow? It would KILL me for them to be sad over me. It would hurt me for them to get into drugs or alcohol, I would want them to continue living the best they could and chase all of their dreams. I would be so upset if they gave up on their goals because they were grieving too hard.
That one simple thought has helped me realize I have to make my mom smile. Like I said, she's still with me... I just can't see her.
I'm going to continue living my best life and accept the moments I break down because I am human, and I am going to always miss her. I'll probably have 5,572 more breakdowns and I have accepted it. I just keep on talking out loud to her.
If you have lost your mom, my heart goes out to you because it's an unbelievable pain. You have to know they're still with you and they want you to keep living life. Just keep talking to them, keep moving forward and take the time you need.
Once you've taken the time you need and you start to feel better, start doing something amazing with this life and make your mama proud.
Love you always mom.