After washing the breakfast dishes and loading them into the dishwasher, I feel a sense of dread. I am spooked, and I know why. Without looking at the calendar or knowing what day it is, I just know. It is March 28th and I am now older than my mom was before she passed away from breast cancer at 38 years old. I still do not know exactly how I feel.
Ever since she died, I feared turning 38. I long to celebrate my 39th birthday. I am probably the rare woman who can’t wait to see forty, because my mom did not. When I turned 28 I began the mammograms and ultrasounds and blood work to keep a check on my health. As of right now, I am the only woman in my immediate family that has avoided cancer.
That C-word has taken everyone I have ever loved in my family and has threatened my younger sister three times. It is an evil and awful disease. I try to keep eating right but struggle with hat. I lost my svelte figure when my youngest daughter stopped liking the stroller. I gave up on me constantly. Until this moment.
While I will not be vigilant and absorb every health plan, I will look for balance. Life is too short. For my heart is telling me I need to work more on my goals, my dreams. It will honor my mother and leave a legacy for my children.
Many motherless daughters swing through emotions of living longer than their mothers: guilt of living longer to a sense of relief that they ‘made it.’ I do feel the power to make my life right like she was not given the time to do.
I walk into the hallway where my mom’s smiling face is looking at me from the picture frame. I whisper to her that I understand so much more now. I will make her proud, so when we meet again she can tell me how proud she is of me. All of a sudden I feel ten years old again and was just told she died. It is 28 years later, and the hole in my heart when she left is still there. I will continue to treat her granddaughters like she treated me. I will work on a ‘bucket list.’ I never knew her list.
I quickly turn my tears into a sniffle when my daughters come running up to me. I will still fear that one day I might be taken from them too soon. But then again, anyone who has lost a parent no matter the age will say it was too soon.
I love you Mommy, more than a million oceans.