Loss. We all experience it at some point in our lives, in one way or another. Whether it’s losing our favorite hat, losing the life of our dearest animal companion, or losing a close friend to moving, a new job or death. No matter what it is, we all experience it. It’s hard to feel the pain, frustration, sometimes even utter devastation that comes with losing something.

I first experienced loss when I was 4 years old. That was the year that my step-father left. I was told that he left my mom for another woman. But it wasn’t until I was older that I was told the real reason that he left. He left my mom because she had Ovarian Cancer, and sex had become too painful, so it just wasn’t something that was going to happen for a while. Well needless to say my step-dad wasn’t “down” with that, as the kid’s say, so he packed his bags and left. I cried a lot. I didn’t understand how the only father figure that I had known at that point could just up and leave us. But he did…

The next time I experienced loss was when I was 12. My uncle came and picked me and my cousins up from daycare, took us to their house. All our parents and my cousins other grandparents were there. I knew when I walked into that room, something was wrong. And unfortunately I was right. Earlier that day with all his children and his wife surrounding him, my grandfather passed away. He had been fighting Lung Cancer for a while, and I guess in my mind I just assumed that he would get better. That he would be there for so many of the life moments that I would need him there for. I didn’t understand how the man that been there for so much was just gone…

The biggest loss of my life was when I was 14. Like I said about the time when I was 4, my mom had developed Ovarian Cancer. Most women who get Ovarian Cancer don’t live longer than a year after their diagnosis. But thank god that I was blessed with almost 11 more years with my mom. Her doctor called it a medical miracle, but I call it a mother’s will. It was my mom’s will to live to see me grow up. She always used to tell me that I was her miracle child, that I saved her life by being a stubborn pain in the ass. I was so stubborn that the doctors couldn’t get me to come out, so they had to perform a C-Section on my mom. It’s a good thing too, because that’s when they found the first tumor.

When I was 4 they fully diagnosed my mom with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer. My whole world crumbled to the ground. I had already lost my step-dad and now I was going to lose my mom too? How was any of this fair? Why did it have to happen to me? Those questions were asked by me to God a lot throughout my younger years. They only gave her a year to live and I was so scared. All I had left was my mom and I know that a lot people prayed for her to get better, but at that age I hated God. I felt like it was his fault that she was sick. That I or my mom had done something wrong and that he was punishing us. Instead of hating God I guess I should have been thanking him instead.

Thanks to him she lived for 5 years past what they predicted the first time. After that they only gave her another year. But thank God, because I got almost 6 more with her. I experienced the biggest loss of my life on September 4, 2007. It was around 2:30 a.m. on what was supposed to be my first day of High School that my uncle woke me up to tell me that my mom had died. The first words out of my mouth were “that’s good”. Sometimes I hate myself for saying those words. But I think in my mind all I could think about was that she would no longer have to suffer. She would no longer be in pain or have to worry. She was free.

Every day since that fateful day I have tried to be who my mom would want me to be. God have I failed. I am no where close to being anything my mom could have imagined I’m sure. But I am me, and I hope that in some way that my mom is proud of everything that I have accomplished and everything that I’ve attempted to do. I’m not perfect and I know I never will be. The loss in my life has changed me in ways that it is impossible to describe.

But loss is normal. We all experience it. We all have to feel the pain at some point. We all have to look to the sky and know that those we have lost are looking down at us and smiling, because we are alive. We are living. We can be anything we chose to be. They will always be watching us. Through every up and every down. So even though I lost my mom, she’s never truly gone.

Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself - Robin Williams

Because to me… She’s always in my heart.

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