Today is my mom’s twentieth anniversary. But not her wedding anniversary. It’s her cancer anniversary. Twenty years ago today, my mom went to work promising my dad that she would go to the emergency room as soon as she got off to see if someone could get to the bottom of her nagging chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Soon she was told that she had cancer, that a tumor the size of a football was squeezing her heart and lungs, that she wasn’t expected to live.
But she did live. She had to.
My mom had to live so that she could worry about her five-year-old son someday when he hiked the Appalachian Trail. So that when her precocious two-year-old daughter became a grown-up little girl, she’d never miss a single blog post. She had to live so that she would know her then-unborn daughter and watch her become a 5k runner, basketball star, math whiz, artist and comedian all by the time she turned twelve.
To me it seems like my mom had to live. But I’m not that naïve. She didn’t have to. I know plenty of people who wish their mom (or dad, or cousin, or uncle, or friend) had a 20-year victory over cancer to blog about. It breaks my heart that I’m simply the lucky one. I’ve been blessed and I know it. So I’m going to grab onto this gift and be grateful for every minute of it. It’s all I know to do. I’ll just simply say, “Happy anniversary, Mom. I love you.”