I remember I went in to work that morning. I sat at my desk. Numb to the world. What in the hell was I doing at a stupid office? An hour later, as soon as my boss arrived, I told him I was leaving and wasn't sure when I'd return. I drove the long I-66 corridor to the hospital and honestly, the next several hours are a blur.
I remember we had told the doctors we wanted to be in the room as a family when the results of my mom's biopsy were given. I think somewhere in there I tried to eat. I sat. I cried. I walked. I texted Katie, knowing I'd need her support. I read the overflow of love that poured in from this amazing blogging community as I sat and waited.
I remember how we took turns going up to visit my mom for short 10-minute visits. Suddenly, I turned around and saw my brother, who had been up visiting her, quickly walking toward me. "C'mon," he said, motioning for us to get up. "The doctor is up there. He blurted out the results before we could stop him." I'll never forget the look my brother gave me. I knew.
I remember the moment those words came out of the oncologist's lips. I was surrounded by my dad and two older brothers and looked ahead at my mom, exhausted and uncomfortable in her hospital bed. The room was rather dark and a heavy weight seemed to press down from above. Discussing the possible remaining length of your loved one's life... how are you supposed to listen to that?
I remember the way I felt in that moment. Devastated.
I remember the strength my mom had while receiving her diagnosis. As a 45-year cancer survivor of a completely different type of cancer, she had already come to terms with the fact that this horrible cancer would be what took her in the end. She barely even flinched. She nodded her head and that was it.
That was the day I knew my life was never going to be the same. I didn't know when. I didn't know what it was going to be like. I just knew life was going to change forever.
Now, every battle I face seems to be so much less compared to that one. And each time life throws something difficult my way, I think back to my mom's strength that day as she accepted what was to come next...
And in two days, on Friday, it will be a celebration in remembrance of her.