Today marks the 4 year anniversary when I watched as you leave us to go on your journey into a new life. The days replay in my head like a broken record.
From getting the phone my freshman year at 6 in the morning from my father saying, "Mommy is dying," to being rushed home from new Jersey to Connecticut. I remember running across the busy street not caring about the cars driving by, not wondering if they were going to stop and not caring if they hit me. I broke down in my dads arms know what we would have to deal with. Having a hard time breathing because I couldn't imagine my life without her and I didn't want to believe that fact that there was nothing that we could have done.
I walked into the ICU already sick to my stomach and seeing you look at us as though you had no idea who we were. I stood next to your bed giving you water. Trying to keep a brave face, all I could say was, "I love you." Some how you managed to work up the words and say back, "I love you too." Those were the last words that you said to me before the nurse came in and turned on the lights. The sight I saw, was something that I never wanted to see. You skin was not pale anymore. It was yellow and swollen. My dad didn't have enough time to get me away from the room quick enough, so seeing my mother not look like herself broke me down even more.
During this time, I was so scared to go home. I was couch hopping trying to avoid going home as much as possible because that was where everything happened. The couch at our was where you told you had cancer. The couch in our living room was where you would fall asleep watching your soap operas. The hall leading the bedrooms where you passed out because the cancer spread faster than we all thought it would. But eventually, I got the courage to go back to the house. Even though I was home, I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't eating, I wasn't taking care of myself and I was constantly thinking. Constantly thinking ways to make it go stop. Ways for how I can take the pain away. Constantly blaming myself that I should have been the one not my mother.
After a few days, I finally started to calm down. Calm my brain and start to eat very little, but there is always a calm before the storm. And just like that, my dads friend picked my brother and I up from home and drove to the hospital.
I walked into the room and felt how ice cold your body was. I stood there waiting for you to gasp for air. The nurses and doctors were trying their best to calm me down. They kept telling me how proud she was of me and the family and that she will always be with me. They kept saying that it wasn't my fault, it was the cancer.
The day you passed and we went home, feeling empty, lost and numb, we went right ahead and starting cleaning out your stuff. Putting clothes in bags to donate. Go through things that we could give to other family member or finding things that we could sell.
Next thing, I knew it, in the blink of an eye it was the funeral. I stood there watching hoping for you to breath again. Hoping you would wake up and give me one last hug, but that never happened.
Once my rose was out of my hand and onto your casket, I felt so lost that I didn't know where to go or even who to go too. The only thing I wanted to do was go home and sleep. I wanted to grief but I didn't get that time.
A few days after the funeral, I was back in the car going back to New Jersey finish off my freshman year of college. I had 6 more shows I was dancing in and didn't want to let anyone down. The show must always go on.
I got continuous support from everyone in my department and all of my professors. I still put on a face to try to hide my feelings, but either people would read through my smile or would read it on my arms. I finished the shows, I finished my exams and still managed to pass everything, makes Dean's List and have a GPA that I was proud of. I knew my mother wanted me go back and finish the year strong, so I did it for her.
Did I continue to go to college after? Yes, I did. Did I complete my 4 years and receive my Bachelors Degree? Yes, I did. I am the only one in my family who finished college and has a college degree. I maintained my GPA and stayed on the Dean's List. It was not only my goal, but it was my fathers goal. We both knew that this was something that my mom would have wanted. I am very lucky to accomplish my college degree and proved that even though you can go through so much, you can still rise up to your expectations and prove that storms lead to beautiful endings.
After all of this, home feels the same but very different now.
Mom, I wish I could have taken the pain away. I'm sorry, I know you and no one else wants me to blame myself, but no one sees it from my perspective. I remember the first time you told me you had cancer when I was home for Spring break and we went to the doctors for an informational meeting. I excused myself fro the room and started to cry, my dad, the doctors and nurses said that it wasn't my fault. Cancer isn't my fault!
But my perspective is different. I should have come home more often. I should have called you more often. I should have hugged you longer. It's not fair and it never will be. I sometimes sit and wonder if none of this happened what or how would our life be like now.
I'm so sorry that there was nothing I could have done. Just please know that I still and will always love.
Thank you for all you did for us. Thank you for getting me into dance, traveling to the many many opportunities I was given and for making sure that I got the University that I wanted to go to. Thank you for always being there.
My life will never be the same, but you taught me so much and now I look up at myself seeing what more I can do. You also put a smile on others face and I will always try my best to do the same.
I know you are proud of all we are doing. I love you so much and miss you than anything. I know you are looking down upon us and sending so much love You are a kind soul, loving, amazing and beyond beautiful. I will always love and cherish our memories.
I love you Mom and I miss you.
Never take your parents for granted. Hug them longer. Tell them you love them, because you never know when one day everything will change. We are allowed to have difficult days, but know there will always be sunshine at the end of the tunnel. Don't take life for granted. Put down your phone and have a real conversation with you family, because you don't know what tomorrow will bring. Our lives are constantly changing and we are constantly evolving, but never take family for granted. All lives are precious, take action and love your family each and everyday. Tell them you love them. Love is never ending. Lives don't last forever, but souls and the memories will so create good ones and continue to grow you soul into something amazing.