My Mom was definitely not supposed to get cancer. The thought was impossible and unreal. This strong, beautiful woman who lived each day focused on taking care of her family, offering unwavering support and strength and functioning as the glue that held everything together. The possibility of her being seriously ill was unthinkable.
My brother and I hit the jackpot when we were chosen to be her children. What do you learn from a woman that uproots her life and moves across state simply to be near her grandchildren? Or caters to every need, desire or whim of her 92 year old live-in parents? Or drops anything, anytime to simply listen, offer advice, help navigate the difficulties of my single motherhood, be a second mom to all of her young grandsons, work hand in hand with my father for 46 years (and going strong) to build a beautiful life for her kids? The list is endless. You learn selflessness, generosity, patience and a knack for rolling up your sleeves and diving in no matter the size of the obstacle. Because that is what she’s doing with her cancer and boy is it an obstacle – the grand-daddy of obstacles. She’s rolled up her sleeves, dove in to her battle and the only option is recovery. And yes, that truly is her mindset – the only option is conquering the beast in her pancreas and getting on with her life.
A few weeks in, I asked her if she was scared and if she’s cried about her diagnosis yet – I’m not positive she answered me 100% honestly because true to form, she’s more focused on my emotional well-being than her own. But her answer was NO. She rolled her eyes and said she was, however, terribly annoyed with cancer for causing this inconvenience and pause in her daily routine. We both laughed long and hard at her response. And I was yet again, overwhelmed but not surprised with her strength, commitment to getting better and overall awesome attitude.
We’ve rallied as a family of course – we were close but have grown closer. Her friends and cousins have rallied, taking time away from their own lives to travel across state and even internationally to visit and offer support. The Hirshberg Foundation has been a tremendous source of information and support connecting us with others fighting the same fight and emerging victorious. How grateful we are to have connected with the medical team at UCLA – her doctors appear to us as super heroes – using their superior skills to save lives daily. They will save my mother’s life too – I know that.
I want to tell my Mama this Mother’s Day that we are here for her, we love her, we will do anything for her and we KNOW that she will kick this “annoying” disease’s butt. Mine – you are everything to our family. Parsegh (brother) and I are grateful to you and for you beyond words.
Your daughter, Ani