I almost lost you. I remember the day very clearly. My brother called me and told me your MRI showed a mass in your head. I knew the minute I saw his call that something was wrong. I knew you were having an MRI, but certainly didn’t expect to hear anything was actually wrong, let alone a brain tumor. I realized in an instant, as I was faced with almost losing you, how much I still needed you in my life.
The phone call was short, because we knew very little, but the questions swirled around in my head when I hung up the phone. “How could this happen? Is this for real? Could I really lose my mom at the age of 33? Would my 3 kids grow up not remembering their Nana?”
I was scared.
Scared I would have to raise my children without you. Scared that I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to about my issues that only you understand. Scared that my children wouldn’t remember your laugh, your kisses, your smile, and your hugs, because they are too young to bank those memories yet. I was scared that Dad may have to “do life” without you. I was scared that you may miss my children’s monumental moments as they grow older. I was scared that you wouldn’t be there for my birthday, or for Christmas and family gatherings. What would that even look like? I knew that eventually one day I would have to do these things without you, but I wasn’t ready. Not yet. It’s too soon.
When we finally heard that your tumor would be removed, and that you had to undergo surgery in less than a week, I was terrified of what was on the other side of that. Would we lose you? Would you be the same? Would you be better? Would you be worse? I wanted you to feel calm and protected, but I was screaming on the inside. I had full trust in whatever was being presented to you and the family, and myself, would be a part of a bigger plan, but I’m not good at letting go of control. No matter how I played it in my mind, I still didn’t know for sure what the outcome would be, and what life would look like moving forward.
So during those few days we had together, between the diagnosis and the surgery, I soaked up every minute I could with you. And I am grateful we had that time together. As emotional as those few days were leading up to the surgery, they were also magical. For even though neither of us knew the outcome, I knew we had been given a gift. A gift to stop and pause. A gift to notice the little things. Like the way you laugh and the way you smile. To notice your hair color in the sun. To notice the way you looked at and held my kids, as if they were your own to protect. I got to see the way you worked through your emotions, and I got to see the woman you are, apart from being my superhuman mother. I got to see you being vulnerable, which was a rare occurrence for me. I saw the woman you are for who you are. I think I even saw your soul.
After the surgery, none of us expected you to do so well. It was truly a miracle. I knew that this moment in time would define us.
I knew that things would never the same.
Mom, I love you more than words can say. The thought of losing you, and the reality I faced, made me realize how incredibly important it is to live in the present. How important it is to say that I love you. How important it is to take that family photo, have that family dinner, read your text messages and respond, see you for the woman you are, with the eyes of unconditional love.
My heart still longs for those couple days we got to spend together, for it was a time of many blessings. But I am so grateful that we had those days together to remind ourselves how truly important we are to each other. You are a strong, passionate woman, and I love that I have received that from you. You are a kind and gentle mother, and now grandmother, and I am thankful for that. Never lose sight of the love in your life, and never forget how much you matter; To us, to yourself, to the world.
As we embark on this second part of our journey, the journey “after the surgery”, I remind myself that I almost lost you, and that every minute I get to spend with you is precious, and a gift.
Thank you for being the mom that you are. Thank you for being so devoted. You are truly an inspiration to me and I wish moving forward that we have many more moments of laughter, love, and truly living.