Every once in awhile an event happens that will stop you in your tracks and really make you think. This happened to me today when I found out that my teenage cousin’s best friend’s mother (now that’s a mouthful) passed away from cancer (her second time having it). This news stopped me in my tracks and really got me thinking about a lot of different things.
Cancer is a terrible disease. I’ve known so many people that have battled it. But with this terrible tragedy happening, I realized how lucky my friends were. In 5th grade my best friend’s mom found out she had breast cancer. We knew exactly what was going on, and how sick she was, but we never talked about things possibly taking a turn for the worst. We just talked about how one day things would get back to normal, and until then we would help out around the house and just try to make everything easier for her. And in the end everything got better. To this day she has battled cancer twice, and kicked its ass both times.
A couple of years later, another one of my friends found out that her mother has a brain tumor. That was probably the scariest thing I experienced. We never knew when she would have a stroke, and if she did have one we never knew if she would ever be OK. This battle went on longer than any of us would have liked, but in the end she was just fine. She was the same woman she had always been. And now she’s around to experience her wonderful grandchild.
There were other people I knew that had battled different types of cancer, but the only one I had known that didn’t defeat it was my grandmother. I was only 5 so I thought it was just because she was old (I also thought there were Kleenex tissues in boobs because I couldn’t understand the concept of breast tissue). Now, looking back on it, I realize how lucky my friends and I are to still have our parents in our lives. Personally, I have always appreciated everything my mom has done for me. But it wasn’t until I got into college that I realized how much she had done, and how difficult it must have been, and it made me appreciate her even more. My mom has been my best friend and my biggest supporter. There’s something special about a mother and daughter’s relationship, and I can’t imagine how much more hectic my 20’s would be without her there.
Then, I start to think about these girls. They’re missing out on so much with their mother. She won’t be there for the boyfriends, the dances, the graduations, college, living on their own for the first time, etc. Sure, they’ll have their father and a ton of family and friends that will be there for them, but it makes me sad to think of them not experiencing these moments with their mother. At the same time, it makes me sad to think about how much their mother will miss out on. My mom always tells me how much she enjoyed being around for all of that stuff, and now that I live on my own she tells me how much she misses it.
The most important thing that I remembered during all of this was to cherish the little things. At the moment they may not seem like they will make a big impact on your life, but they’re the things that you look back on that make you smile. Today I’m appreciating everything that I have and not paying as much attention to the trivial stuff. Every once in awhile you get that reminder to cherish what you have, and today this was mine.