Her mom prayed for dead insects and ambulance sirens: a mom with an artist’s soul tortured by a white-collar job under artificial light with ringing phones and closed windows in the summertime. She stood 5′ 2″ tall with blue eyes, silver hair, and a sharp tongue.
She found the lump in her breast twice. Gone went the right breast. Gone went the left breast two years later. After the surgeries she wore pocketed shirts and vests filled with traveling sketch pads and pencils, bird-watching guides, and a steady supply of pain killers she couldn’t stop taking.
The daughter felt helpless against the cancer. Now it was her turn to be the strong one: grocery shopping, hand washing plastic dishes that were avocado green, white, and sunburned brown, and placing clean butterfly sheets on her mom’s twin bed.
Her mom lived in a 13-strory high apartment located in the heart of the city (a city where the daughter was raised) in a homeless, drug addicted, multi-racial neighborhood with liquor stores and Indian and Vietnamese restaurants on every corner.
The daughter cancelled plans to go to college in another state, and opted for a local university. She had no siblings to share the burden of her mom’s illness, or the biting criticism that the daughter grew up with but refused to inherit.
Her mom beat breast cancer twice. The daughter and the mom prayed for no more cancer and their prayers were answered. For the next twenty-five years the mom hid her scars not in shame but in protest. They will not keep my spirits down she’d say with a slight Southern accent and one fist raised in the air.
When the daughter was pregnant with the first grandchild, it was the mom’s heart that gave out. On her mom’s final day, she lay peacefully in a hospice room on clean sheets, not the ones she died in. Her cold hands clasped colorful flowers and the sun peered through the tiny window of the room smelling of bleach cleaner. The daughter tried to close her mother’s eyes, blue and staring, but they stayed open. Her mother remained strong even in death. To this day I listen to music on my headphones and remember this day.
The cancer never took her mom’s life. Call it stubbornness, call it pride, or call it determination, these were qualities she was sure to pass on to the daughter; a daughter who now has a son with blue eyes, sandy-brown hair, and very sharp tongue.
This memoir excerpt is part of a special round up with mom bloggers including Tara, Jenni, Deirdre, Dyan, Deb, and Debbie who have faced and embraced a friend, a mother, a grandmother, or an aunt with cancer.
Dyan is the stay-at-home mom of two sons and blogger of And Next Comes L. When she’s not holding down the fort or playing with her family, she can be found rotting little kids’ minds teaching piano part time out of her home. She loves to read, craft, cook, write, and play board games. In her post, I Miss Her, Dyan pays tribute to her beloved aunt (who was like a second mother to her) on the fifth anniversary of her aunt’s battle with Ovarian cancer and how that experience influenced her as a mom today.
Tara is the mom blogger of Feels Like Home where she writes articles about the things your Grandmother probably did, like canning, making jam, and sewing. She tells her readers that her life is not all sunshine and daisies. She says she has bad days, she gets crabby, and her family hits bumps in the road. Big ones. She writes about those, too. She wrote about her Grandma’s breast cancer in a heart-warming and humorous blog post called Grandma and Lefty.
Momma Jenni Fischer blogs at The Good Long Road where she tells her readers that the challenges of running 30-mile trails have been replaced by juggling the duties of being a SAHM with her boys while also being a WAHM with her husband as they operate their own production company with arts education division. Her blog post, What a Survivor Looks Like, celebrates her grandmother’s approach to her battle with breast cancer.
Deirdre is mom to Daniel, hence the name of her blog J Daniel 4s Mom where she enjoys chronicling her son’s adventures, the mom lessons she has learned, reviews and giveaways of new products, and a whole host of stories and other types of writing. She says here dad bought her a tape recorder to tell stories into when she was in elementary school. She’s still telling stories to this day. As part of a fellow mom blogger’s celebration of an anniversary of being cancer free, Deirdre and her son made a paper plate bowl woven with ribbons as a place to store cards while in the hospital, in memory of her cancer-surviving grandmother: you can read about it here Small Hands Creating Hope.
At the blog There’s Just One Mommy, Christina describes how writing has always been something she’s enjoyed including blogging about her kids and life as a SAHM bringing her love for writing and her love for my family together. In her post called Cancer Doesn’t Discriminate she tells her followers “I have seen co-workers fight cancer and live to see another birthday. I have had 2 aunts fight breast cancer and leave this world too early. It has touched my grandparents, friends’ families, and acquaintances.” In it she features a video clip where cancer-free years are like birthdays sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
Debbie is herself a cancer survivor and on her blog she has over 70 articles on the topic. In her most recent blog post, I Have a Dream: a Cancer Cure, she includes a story about one of her dearest friends and how they battled cancer together. Debbie is a mom, a grandma, an artist and an art teacher (including ten years working in a private preschool for young children with special needs), a musician, a speaker, and so much more you HAVE to visit her about me page! While most of her blog pertains to her creative work with children, teachers, librarians and parents — every now and then you will find her reflecting on how very fortunate she feels to have the opportunity to continue living her dream as she shares some of the aftermath of of her breast cancer experience in the hopes of advocating for others in the process.
Deb of the Bits of Positivity blog co hosted a blog hop for cancer awareness month called Are You Going Pink for Breast Cancer? Deb’s mom is a breast cancer survivor so this is a cause that’s dear to her heart. She is the Montessori and homeschooling mom of children who were competitive figure skaters and who are now adult figure-skating professionals. In her blog she writes a lot about gratitude and helping kids develop character as well as inspiration and motivation for life.
Kim at The Educator’s Spin On is a mom of a 2-year-old, a 5-year-old, and a 19-year-old and she is experiencing all stages of childhood at once at her house. Across the years she’s learned many tips and tricks of parenting and teaching and she loves to share them with you and your little ones on her group blog. She also co hosted the blog hop for cancer awareness month with fellow kid bloggers and she included a list of sites with information for talking to kids about breast cancer; as well as an assortment of picture books for children about cancer; and kid- friendly crafts to teach and show support to loved ones.
Thank you for visiting our special round up! We’d love to hear from you so be sure to leave a comment when visiting our blogs, and follow us along on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.