As old as Mom

Today is the day that I am as old as Mom was when she died. It’s been on my mind for a while, but especially this week. It is hard to imagine dying, right now, and hard to imagine my mother facing death at this age. I have so many plans for the future, so much I want to do. I wonder at what point Mom stopped planning. I wonder at what point she realized that planning was useless.

She had metastatic breast cancer for six years. Every time it came back, she fought it. But in December 1995, she didn’t want to fight anymore. My youngest brother begged her to try. It wasn’t what she wanted, but for him, she said she would. She would try. But she never got that far; the cancer was too much, too quickly filling her body, too everywhere.

So it is the day that I am as old as she was when she left us. I catch myself thinking, “This is the day Mom died.” It’s not, of course, but at times this week, the grief has been as fresh as it was in 1995. Why did Mom have to die, and I get to live? I’ve often wondered if her love for us was such that she would bargain with God; that she would take all the breast cancer so we would be free of it.

So sad to think of all this. If I wallow in it, I might drown. But I am alive! I AM ALIVE! I do have a genetic mutation in the BRCA2 gene that makes me more susceptible to breast cancer, at a risk of as much as 80%. I got this mutation from Mom. Mom never had the chance to get genetics testing. Now we have that opportunity, and I did get tested. Then came the hard choice to let go of my breasts. They are gone now, as of August 16, 2019. I chose prophylactic (preventive) mastectomies. I am cancer free, and now much less likely to get breast cancer than the general population.

This is good news! Maybe Mom would have lived a long life if she’d had the chance to get tested, and to have surgery in advance of cancer. Maybe this is the answer to my mother’s prayers. I spent the morning sad, but I am grateful now. I am grateful to be alive and cancer free. I am grateful for the chance to continue in health for a long long time. I am grateful for my mother’s prayers.

One of my favourite pictures of Mom and Dad

Published by dreambringer

Retired from a career in private practice psychology. Ordained to ministry in the United Church of Canada. Mother, grandmother, dreamer, writer.

13 thoughts on “As old as Mom

  1. That’s a beautiful post. Alice. Really moving. You are a wonderful writer. Hope you don’t mind if I share it on my blog FB page.
    xo Sue

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  2. Your write up brought tears to my eyes,I have felt the same things when our sons came to be the same age as Audrey( 2 weeks into her 37th year). Oh how we would hate to lose them so young. Take care , Alice. I am so very thankful for their health and that you are well too

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  3. I have many wonderful memories of my visits with your parents . They were wonderful people and truly missed by many. She left us way too soon 😥

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  4. Thinking of you and how I would feel if I had to make the choice you were faced with. The C word is taking people far too young and we all know this. LIFE is so wonderful and leaving loved ones must be so difficult. I am so glad you made the right choice Alice. You have so much more living to do so carry on in peace and love and we will all carry the torch to stomp out cancer.

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    1. I am so gratefully pleased for you, Alice. You are so strong, as your MOM was. You have gone a long ways in your faith and doing well. I do wish you all the best. HUGS

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