Today is the first anniversary of losing my mum. Today is a day that has crept in from a far and left me wondering how on earth 365 days could have passed without you. My mum was my best friend, she got me on a level like no other human being and no matter what she loved me unconditionally. Its safe to say the feeling was mutual.
Growing up with a parent who has cancer, it kind of stops you in your innocent ways and forces you into adulthood. You have to contemplate death, and loosing a parent. For me, this happened when I was aged 14. I guess I wasn’t overly young, but I’d never, ever thought about one of my parents becoming sick… Let alone being diagnosed with cancer. I also didn’t know that anything was wrong, but the day my mum was first diagnosed with cancer… My intuition told me something wasn’t right before she did.
From the point of my mum’s diagnosis onwards our entire relationship changed. My mum became one of the most valuable things in my life, because the fragility of life had – for the first time ever- been put into perspective for me.
Whilst on the one hand my mum reassured me that the cancer was mild and she was expected to make a full recovery, she was still sick, and she was showing me for the first time how to run a house, how to clean and wash and cook. Looking back, I can see she was preparing me for life without her.
I’d like to say my mum made a full recovery, but I don’t really believe that much is true, if it were maybe she’d still be here today? Instead the cancer was kicked back and at bay, but years later after stopping her hormone blockers and refusing her scans it was back. Not only was the cancer back, but it was stage 4, inoperable and incurable.
I was 22, in my final semester of university, crippled by what now I know to be endometriosis and all I could think about was “shit, mum’s going to die this time”. I wanted my life to pause and for me to remain at her side forever more. I never wanted that day to become a reality, I never wanted to face life without her.
We were blessed with five incredible years following this, with the most inspirational woman, who I’m proud to call my mum! We lived life to the fullest together, doing all the things we possibly could. Squeezing the very most out of the time we were given.
My mum prepared me to deal with ill health, and crappy diagnosis’ and not take them as a life sentence. To not allow anything, or anyone to define me, other than myself. To rise up in the hardest times and smile and help those who need it. To never give up in the face of adversity, hardship or wallow in self pity and think “why me?”.
Today I celebrate my mum in all her beauty, I celebrate her kindness and wisdom, I celebrate the beautiful memories we made together, I celebrate all she overcome and I’m so thankful for the years we shared together, though I selfishly wish there were more.
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile
You were the most loved person I’ve ever met and I will always love you unconditionally.