A man looks sadly at an old photo, more framed photos are on the wall

Honoring My Mother

Death is a part of life.

No matter what, it’s never easy to deal with the loss of a loved one. Especially if you are a person living with lung cancer, going through some type of treatment, and have lots of appointments for doctor’s visits and scans, etc. Losing my mother three years after my diagnosis was the hardest for me. Besides my husband, my mom also wanted to be my caregiver. I cared for my mom for years, and she wanted to take care of her little girl.

Grieving the loss of a loved one

I always say that losing my mother was 1000 times harder than being diagnosed with lung cancer. That pain and grief is much harder to deal with. I look back now and tell myself, “how in the world did I deal with the loss of my mother?”

Memories of my mom

I did just about everything with my mom. She loved to go to second-hand stores, and we would go out just about every day to eat. That was our time together, and I miss it so much.

She gave me strength to keep fighting

My mother was my strength during the first two years of being diagnosed, and she taught me how to be strong and a fighter. She would tell me, "don’t you dare give up; your children need you. You still have a lot of life to live." Five years after her passing, I hold those words deep in my heart. It’s my daily reminder to continue to fight.

I felt lost without her

I honestly don’t remember how I got through when I lost her. It’s like a blur to me. I was literally depressed for almost a year. Going to my appointments, my scans, and my blood work is a blur. I knew I had to go, and I went, but I can’t really remember. I also didn’t care what the results were because all I could think about was being with my mom.

I do remember experiencing anger and lots of it. I can remember being just a mean human being. But that all changed when my granddaughter was born, and anyone could see the glow in me once again.

Receiving the news

I think my anger was because she died unexpectedly, and I was in Jamaica at the time. I got to Jamaica on a Thursday and got the call Thursday night. Once I got the call that she had a major heart attack, we called the airline to fly out as soon as possible.

The wait felt like forever

On Friday morning, my husband was calling the airline to get us on a flight back home. But there weren’t any flights available until Sunday. I was beyond devastated.

I had to stay in Jamaica, knowing that my mom was dying. Right before they sedated her to make her comfortable, I face-timed her and was able to talk to her, but when I got there, she was completely sedated. I just hope she knew that I made it to her side.

Seeing blessings through the heartache

Telling her goodbye was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Knowing that I had to continue to face lung cancer without her was even harder. But throughout the first three years of my diagnosis, I know she was preparing me - and she did one hell of a good job. I also believe she sent me my granddaughter to help me get through losing her and to bring back happiness, love, and joy into my life.

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