Woman holds a photograph ripped in two; the left side shows her alone in a black and white piece, the right side shows a colorful part of the photograph with the rest of the group.

Mother's Day 2.0

I've come to realize that not all holidays need to be expressed on the actual day. Growing up, so much importance was put on holidays -- family needed to be together. Well, since my daughter's father and I split up, I have had to learn to share her. Which means, waking up alone on Christmas morning, Thanksgiving dinners without my baby girl. And, most recently, Mother's Day weekend without her.

Missing my daughter this Mother's Day

I allowed her to stay with her father over Mother's Day weekend because his mom decided to come down. I did get her back on Mother's Day, without even a card. One would think the father of their child would at least get a card for the mother of his child. I guess things don't work that way on that side of my daughter's family. Now that I know, it will save me money, but I will definitely have her every Mother's Day weekend from here on out. I missed her too much.

Once she got home on Mother's Day, empty-handed with no card or flowers or anything, I cried. Living with lung cancer, you never know which holiday could be your last. That will forever be my weekend from this point forward. But she did surprise me with the best gift I could've ever gotten. She made a card. The card my daughter gave me wasn't just a card, it was a booklet of our adventures together and the reasons she loves me, along with some pictures. I ugly cried reading it.

Being a single mom with lung cancer

Single parents are underappreciated. They don't have that spouse to buy them something nice for all that they do. My child makes me feel like the most important person in her life, regardless of her other family. I'm giving up on trying to remotely please her father's side. Instead, I am going to do what makes me happy. If there was ever a time to be selfish, it would be when you have late-stage lung cancer.

Everyone looks at you as though you're fine, in remission, when the cancer isn't active. This couldn't be farther from the truth. While our ex's or other family move on with their lives as if nothing is wrong, we continue to live in fear of life existing without us. It's gut-wrenching to see. No, the world didn't stop when we got sick. This earth will continue to spin, even when we are gone.

I wish I had some magical power to help distant family and ex-family understand what we go through physically and mentally. The emotional challenge of this disease is almost more than I can bear. The people that really get it are the people who are going through the exact same thing.

Surround yourself with love and positivity

Finding that support group is so important. Otherwise, you can feel so alone, especially holidays. You're not the same and some of us are a shell of the person we once were. So, if there are people in our lives that change the way they are towards us because we are sick and can't do everything we used to, kick them out. Cut the negativity from your life. That's exactly what I'm doing. I'm starting with the people that have the power to hurt me the most, and often times do.

I go back and forth on this issue because sometimes they are the sweetest people in the world willing to do a lot to help, but they don't understand your emotions. In fact, they probably never will. So, I'm thankful for my daughter, friends, and family. I've taken some out, but in the end, it is for my own well being. Surviving cancer is not for the meek, sometimes you have to be bold and stand up for yourself. Otherwise, you'll stay depressed until one day it's too late to change.

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