Then and Now

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:

Army of Women
National Breast Cancer Coalition
Support Connection

12 thoughts on “Then and Now

  1. Oh, Stacey, this really brings it home. Here we are, still heart-broken about those we have lost, and watching all the nonsense of this past week, wondering why, why aren't we further ahead? Tears for me today, too. And frustration. And renewed resolve.


  2. Stacey,After all these years, all the pink walks for the cure, all the green dollars raised, I don't think we're much closer to finding an answer for breast cancer. The events of this last week have angered me, not about Planned Parenthood, but about the loss of focus on the cure. I think we all feel deserted and betrayed by those we put our money and our faith in. We're a powerful group. We must continue to find ways to make our voices heard.XOXOXO,Brenda


  3. As always, you made me cry. This time, not a few tears in the corner of my eyes–big, sad, serious tears not just for all we have lost, but for all we have not gained, if that makes any sense. I think it does. Thank you, Stacey, for this post. I'm sharing it with the world.


  4. Thank you for this post, Stacey. It made me cry. I'm sorry for the losses you've had in your life from breast cancer. I'm sorry you were diagnosed. I'm glad I \”know\” you now. Thanks for sharing a few of your most personal thoughts from \”back then.\” It gives me courage to do the same. And yes, \”don't let it be for nothing,\” – such important words. We cannot allow that. We will not allow that.


  5. Stacey, I also kept a diary in the days following my mothers death. Much like yours, I felt her presence \”with me\” in the days following her death and like you, I was confident that she was in a better place. As the years pass, I'm still shaken by the loss and saddened by so many more woman scarred by this hellish disease. We go forward in hope – it's the only thing we can do.


  6. Thanks for all your words here, Nancy. Thanks for always reading and being there as one of my blogging sisters. I'm sorry we have this in common, but happy to have you in my life.


  7. Hi Anonymous, back then it was easier to feel her spirit than it is now. Do you find that? But, like you, I'm so tired this disease continues to take so many, even with all that awareness. I'm hoping right along with you. Thank you for writing.


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