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Sunday, May 27, 2012


With Memorial Day coming up I have been thinking a lot about my best friend. My mother. While we honor our fallen veterans, I also wanted to take the time to honor my mother. A fallen veteran of cancer. A battle she fought for so long. 

I realize this is straying away from my typical dry humored rambling posts, but I wanted to share something I wrote just a few days after she passed away three years ago. Emotions were very raw at this time. They still are at times. Time does heal these wounds a bit, but it never erases the stinging pain. Holidays, birthdays, smells, random memories. All reminders of what I don't have anymore. 

So often we live in the moment. Thinking there is always tomorrow. Thinking we are invincible. We can only imagine being faced with the very last second.

10 years ago my brother and I came home from school. Me with my teenage angst; shown to the world by heavy dark eyeliner and strange clothing apparently. The world was my enemy for whatever reason. I still am not sure. My little brother; too young to worry about hating the world, but at just the right age to find humor in any sort of bathroom talk or noises.
We came home from school to find my mom and dad in the living room. Mom had been crying we could tell, but she did not shed her tears in front of us. We knew this was big. I didn't hear anything after the word "Cancer" began to echo over and over in my head. 

The next few years were hard for my mom. Thinking she had beat this demon and then having it come back with a vengeance is heartbreaking. I remember sitting with my mom in the chemo room where she recieved treatments. My mom by far the youngest patient there.

 She never complained. Ever. Not to us. Her life was scheduled around "good weeks" and "bad weeks". Doctor appointments, hospital visits that would last for months, medication lists a mile long and always the poking and prodding. But she never complained. 

In her final months my mom and I talked about death. She said she was scared but had accepted it. She said she had lived a good life as a grandma, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend to so many. We are so lucky to have had her in our lives. Words can not express how much love I have for my mom and how much she has taught me. 

At her funeral, I stood next to my brother (who now towers over me) at the entrance of the church and I was reminded of that very first encounter where my brother and I sat numb with the realization that our mother had Cancer. Not someone elses mom. Not someone on TV. Our precious mom. There we were again 10 years later. Standing side by side. No longer children anymore, but feeling more lost and childlike than I can remember in a long time. 

My mom is an inspiration to so many. I think about her every day. I miss her terribly. Yet she has taught me through all of this to never take life for granted. Even though she was sick she didn't just sit at home and wallow in depression. She pushed on through all the pain and hard days and lived her life the best that she knew how and was able to. She never complained or felt she was "owed" something. Cancer was never mom's crutch. She truly appreciated all that she was able to do in her life.

We are not invincible. And that is OK. Each day that I am blessed with being able to wake up and hug my kids and husband is a good day. Life is what you make of it. So many people are alive...breathing and blinking but dead inside. Dead from hatred and depression. Dead from greed and narcissism. My mom was looking at death straight in the eyes face to face for 10 years. She chose to live the rest of her life ALIVE. Full of love, optimisim, hope and always there for us. 

She told me she had a good life. 

Reading this again brings up so many emotions. Painful emotions but also inspiring emotions. Reminders of what in life I should never take for granted. My babies. My husband. My family. Myself.

 My family will be going to visit my mom's grave tomorrow. We will set fresh flowers next to the two angels that were placed next to her the day we tearfully brushed dirt off our fingers. The smell of fresh earth symbolizing our final goodbyes. 

"There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go." 


  1. Hugs to you Leia, you are such an amazingly beautiful and strong woman and there is no doubt your mother raised you into that. Also it is so evident that you are passing that onto Rilee and Caleb. I love you!

  2. Thank you Jaimie. I love you too! So glad you are my sister :)

  3. Beautiful Post Leia, my eyes are tearing now.