September 1st, 2016

drown

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I try to move on with my daily routines, my goals, and my life, because that's what she wanted.
...
I have lost my angel on earth, the brightest light in my life, my greatest and most faithful confidant and friend that I have had since literally the moment I was born.
We had our differences in my teenage years. And I wanted to move out and be free at an early age, while she wanted to hold onto me forever. But in my 20's, things changed, and we spent so much time together. So many good times, from watching The Lion King musical together, to having weekly, excited discussions about the latest episode of Game of Thrones... I am grateful for every second that we had the priviledge of spending together.


The ovarian cancer was found about three years ago. She had surgery and the chemo began. I was in my college thesis at the time. The stress was overwhelming. I don't know how I didn't give up or fail, but I guess I needed something to focus on. I was put on a pill intended to lower my risk of also getting ovarian cancer. I hated it - it ended up causing side-effects that lasted for months. They later discovered that the disease was not hereditary, so I stopped taking it.

I somehow made it through everything, and graduated. She was so incredibly proud of me. For everyone who said I was sure to get job offers after graduation, well, you were right, and I am sorry to have disappointed you all by declining them. I was 100% burnt out and wanted nothing to do with anything anymore. But we finally got some good news: the cancer was gone. (They never gave me the details, but I think they meant it was finally in remission and under control.) She still needed to go to the hospital for regular follow-up treatments, but that was normal. I wanted to celebrate everything. And I was spiteful of the thousands of dollars that I was spending on tuition and my parents were spending on medical bills. So that is why I went on three different vacations after graduation. This period was the best time I've had in my life in a very long time. I knew I was going to move out soon, and a lot was going to change in my life... so despite how impatient I felt in the past, I was very, very grateful for all the time I ended up spending living at home with my family. I didn't know the extent of how exceedingly grateful I would end up being for that.

Despite the distance that it would mean, my mom fully supported my decision to go to Canada. I was determined to go after opportunities for my love life, my career, my happiness, and my future. And my mom supported all of that with an open heart. I could sense some underlying sadness, but I could not pinpoint it. While I was in Canada, we talked almost every day. I had taught her how to use Skype a year ago, since we always wanted to keep in contact while I was on those vacations. The last Skype conversation I had with her lasted an hour, and as usual, I updated her on everything that was going on, and as usual, she was an excellent listener and offered her support and advice.

On the last weekend of July, Jon and I went out to Toronto. I took some pictures of the awesome skylines to show mom next time we talked on Skype. When we got home, I realized I hadn't heard from her in a while. I got a call from my dad early in the morning saying that my mom was in the emergency room. The cancer had metastasized severely, months ago -- she just never told us because she didn't want us to worry. My dad had been taking her for chemotherapy treatments regularly, but even he didn't know the extent of how bad it was. Her latest dose of chemo had been on Friday, and a severe negative side-effect had taken effect.

I flew back to Florida the next day. I visited her in the hospital as much as I could. I tried to be there for my father and brother. I had the gift of still being able to talk with her. The doctors reminded me how precious that is, something that they see many people robbed of. She had honestly exceeded their expectations, saying they were literally "baffled." Her mental will and positivity gave her so much strength... though they said that, unfortunately, there was nothing more they could do for her. She fought for two weeks before her body was too tired to go on. The last time I saw her, I gave her a letter. My dad told me she wouldn't let go of it.

I don't know what else to say.

So many people have cried and expressed condolences. God, so many people loved her. Her closest doctors and nurses were so sad to see her go, even though they deal with loss on a regular basis... One of the head doctors said he felt so bad for not being able to save a life that had such a strong will. I caught one of the male nurses visiting her while she was in the SICU, off his shift, praying for her. The priest from our local church came as soon as he heard her condition was worsening, and he performed prayers for her together with my dad and I. My mom always said that when people died it was because they were needed elsewhere. God needed them now. I don't know what to believe, but I know that whatever realm/dimension/etc that she may be existing in, she undoubtedly is a gift to that world.

I think that's all I want to say about that.

I'm sorry to those of you who truly have bad parents. We don't get to choose our family. I do believe in the silver lining part of it - at least you will never have to suffer the pain of such a loss. And to those of you who also have saints for mothers... (I have been reading so many stories about them lately -- mothers really are living angels)... I don't know what to say to you. I think it's obvious enough. Cherish them while you can. Appreciate every moment of life for what it is.

Guardians of the Galaxy is my favorite Marvel movie, and I'm already the kind of sap that cries during movies, and now the beginning of that movie is even harder for me to watch. But it gets happier pretty quickly. My mom's whole philosophy was about being positive. And I'm gonna damn well try to keep up that philosophy. My whole career is about entertainment, and one way or another I'm gonna use it. I will miss my mom for the rest of my life. If it were up to me, she would be here forever. Her mother/my grandma is still alive in her 90's. I always believed my mom would get to be that old too, that she would be here to visit my new home, to attend my wedding, and so on. But it was not meant to be. I will miss her forever. I will love her forever.