I lost my mom to cancer in August 2013. She’d fought against it for three years, but ultimately cancer and heart disease caused her to pass away two years ago.
It all started in her breast which spread to her back, took over her brain and ended in her liver.
I will not lie, seeing my mother slowly dying each day when she was only in her 40s was very hard. The responsibility I had to take on wasn’t always easy either, especially as a teenager.
Overall I am grateful to live in France where social care is very developed and to have hard working parents that allowed me to live a wealthy lifestyle, which meant that paying for her treatment was never an issue. My mom had always been a very wise woman which helped her adapt during her sickness. She made it a point to prepare my sisters, dad and me throughout the years, which made her departure not as painful or sudden.
Losing her wasn’t the hardest step. The hardest step was realizing she was gone for real and not just in hospital.
My friends and family provided us with constant love and support. They were, and still are, very present for us and I believe this has what helped me recover so well.
I try seeing it as a bubble of love and safety around me: protecting me from danger. I have never received a piece of advice that changed my way of thinking, but some words that I remember from my mother were:
“Lorsque la vie devient trop douce, elle nous envoi des obstacles et attend de nous qu’on les surmonte, peut importe ce que la vie nous inflige c’est qu’on est capable de le vivre.”
In English, this translates to: “When life gets too sweet it will throw an obstacle at you and it expects you to go over this obstacle. So whatever life makes you go through, you are capable of it.”
Another way of thinking I obtained with my mother’s death is that life continues and you need to manage to move on. Your loved one wouldn’t want you to grieve over them eternally and achieve nothing. On the contrary, they would want you to keep living, for them too.
Whenever you’re feeling down, write about it. I write through my darkest and loneliest nights and then reflect on those words. I’m proud, when I read back, to see that I found a way to move past whatever was hurting; I’ve been able to translate my sadness into positives.
Classical music helped me too. I can’t play an instrument but listening to it soothed me.
My family doesn’t celebrate my mom’s life in any specific way but just lives with the idea that she looks over us constantly, protects us and continues loving us from above.
My loss made me grow into a more open and mature person, it also made me realize the importance of parents. I try to transmit this message to my friends because as teenagers, we usually neglect the love our parents give us and don’t realize the impact they have on our lives. We take our loved ones for granted and shouldn’t because we never know how long we have left with them.
If there is one message I would like to pass on, is to continue moving on and don’t be scared to express your feelings to the ones you love before it’s too late. You are also stronger than you believe and can take a lot more than you think.