The word rang in my head. Echoing back and forth like I was trapped in a cavern.
At eight years old the only word I knew synonymous to cancer was death.
“Are you going to die, Mommy?”
I had no idea what the next six months of my life would look like after that question left my lips. Trips to the hospital, lonely nights wishing for the comfort of my mother’s voice and the lyrics that sang us to sleep, the funeral, moving in with friends and family. So much loneliness.
The night I was told my mom had cancer was the night I grew up. The moment I knew it was not me who relied on my mom, but my mom who needed our support. My sister who needed care when my mother couldn’t be there. My Nana who needed to know there would always be a part of my mom within my sister and I as she saw her daughter fade away day after day.
This post isn’t to make you feel bad for me. It’s not to tell my sob story, or to get my feelings out.
It is to all of the people out there who know what it’s like to watch a loved one fight for their lives. It is for the children who lost a part of themselves when their parent left this earth. It’s to all of us that had to grow up too fast and have the scars to prove it. It’s for the girl playing Jessica Simpson on repeat with the door locked in 2003 because no one understands her.
I understand you.
I hear you.
I share your pain; the pain that pulses down your throat and stabs your heart. The pain that simply feels like no matter how many years go by, will not go away.
We share that pain.
I write this, I share this for the ones that can’t put their pain into words. For the lonely, broken souls who search for release from their pain after losing a piece of their hearts.
Cancer doesn’t just destroy the tissue - it takes away a bit of everyone who supports, holds, and cries with the ones with the illness. It affects every one of us.
We may not be able to stop or cure cancer. I have accepted that.
But I have also accepted that while we are here we can share our pain. We can tell our stories and know we don’t have to sit alone. We don’t have to question why it happened to us, or what we can make of ourselves now. We can lift each other up and know that there is joy after loss. There is release after pain.
And there are souls that exist to mend yours.