June is a bittersweet month for me ever since the 20th of June 2008. That is the day I lost my mother to ovarian cancer. The month is also filled with a lot of birthdays including my husband’s and father’s, so this is where the bittersweet part comes in. Each year about a week before, I become irritable and sad not realizing why until the day before. Then it hits me like a ton of bricks.
My mom has been gone for nine years. Sometimes it feels like that long, and other days it’s like a fresh wound. She was my everything.
This amazing woman beat cancer TWICE. She had breast cancer two years before I was born and again when I was twelve years old.
I watched her go through chemotherapy at twelve, and I thought she was going to die. All I knew at that tender age was cancer was awful and took people way too soon. The previous year, I had lost my aunt on my dads side (who I didn’t know very well) to breast cancer. My mom however pulled through!
So when I was 19 and she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer I told her she’d kick its ass again. She had a complete hysterectomy after radiation and chemo treatments but it wasn’t enough. They caught the beast too late and two very short years later she was gone.
This year she would be turning 70 years old. My parents are 40 years older than me, so I was basically brought up in a different generation. We’d all sit together for hours watching old Cary grant movies, The Sound of Music, and The King and I etc.
Her favorite animals were elephants and hummingbirds, her favorite color was turquoise. She loved cats. She hated animal cruelty (but still wouldn’t become a vegetarian) 😂 She was an amazing photographer and should have done it professionally. She had a love of nature. Any type of forensic file show was on her list, and she loved any type of ghost/paranormal show. If I listed everything she enjoyed, I’d be writing forever.
My mom’s FAVORITE hobby was antiquing. Hundreds of hours were spent in antique stores and at garage sales. I didn’t exactly share her passion but I’d go and humor her. There was one store in particular that I loved on the corner of this quaint little area. She rented a booth to sell some of her old antiques for about a year there. They had a little corner devoted to tea, and I would go get some tea (usually earl grey) and peruse the store, eventually ending up at my mom’s booth.
A pastime that I enjoyed way more was watching antiques roadshow! It was a ritual for us, and we would try to guess the estimated price for every single item. I still watch it when I happen to catch it on tv. We would have popcorn, pizza and numerous other snacks as we watched, and those nights curled up together on the couch are some of my fondest memories.
I wish I hadn’t given her a hard time when we spent more than an hour or two on those lazy summer days in stores or at garage sales. If only I’d known I wouldn’t have had many more years to spend time with her doing something she loved so much.
I miss her silliness. I miss her belting out Don’t Cry For Me Argentina very horribly, even though she had one hell of a voice. I miss running inside scrambling over each other to get to the last popcorn bag, but sharing it anyway. I miss her reading to me every night since I was born, up until I was pregnant with my first and feeling nauseous and crying because I couldn’t sleep. She would sit there and read Harry Potter to 17 year old me, and stroke my head lightly, scratching my hairline, just how she did for years. I miss her voice, her laugh and being able to find her in a store just by hearing her cough. I miss her smell. I miss her hugs, I miss everything.
She always encouraged me in everything I did. She was always there when I needed to cry for any reason. She believed in me, she fought for me, she did everything and loved me no matter what. I love you mom.