Early Sunday, March 12, 2000 2:40am
My mother died tonight. I was sitting by her side. I watched her take her last breath. I hope she was somewhere else by then. I told her I loved her. She knew. She suffered so much. Such a hateful, horrible disease, humiliating and degrading. I don’t want to mention specifics. I want to remember the mom that raised me.
I will miss you.
Thursday, March — something or other 11:15am
The days have melded together. It seems like weeks since Saturday. Monday…Funeral day is a blur. People in and out of the house everyday.
My grandmother is holding up. I think she’s angry now. Angry over losing two daughters to this. She sat my cousin and myself down yesterday and gave us a speech. I love seeing her so strong. I hope we have her genes.
Don’t let it be for nothing.
As for me, I was afraid of feeling torn up inside, shredded, unable to function, but that’s not the case. I feel okay. I truly believe my mother is in a better place. I also feel her with me. I wonder when I’ll be hit with overwhelming sadness. What if it doesn’t come? Does that make me bad?
I miss her already, but I feel like she’s here.
Wednesday, April 12, 2000 7:15pm
I’m tired, weary. I feel it in my bones. I want to call my mother. I never in my life went a month without speaking to her. Calling her…
I don’t have a mother anymore. Where did she go? I feel that her spirit is alive someplace, but I can’t find her.
The above are diary entries as I wrote them, word for word, in the days following my mother’s death from breast cancer nearly twelve years ago.
— Eleven years after her younger sister died of breast cancer.
— Five years before my brother’s mother-in-law died of breast cancer.
— Nine years before my own diagnosis of breast cancer.
Today, February 4, 2012 is World Cancer Day, but one day is not enough.
After all these years of breast cancer awareness, one thing remains the same. Women are still dying in numbers comparable to twenty years ago. Not simply nameless, faceless women represented on a chart or some metric hanging in a pinked out office, but mothers, daughters, sisters and wives whose absence rips wide, gaping holes in the lives of those that love them.
Breast cancer is not pink. It is not a happy, smiling face and it is not over.
I wrote long ago…Don’t let it be for nothing. I can’t believe after all these years, I’m still writing it.
Some organizations worthy of your dollars: