When a Mom has Cancer.

HandsI’ve been thinking about this for over 4 months. How would I write about what is probably the most painful event in my life so far? How could I accurately describe what it is that I’m seeing, feeling and hearing about the person that I have been closest to, ever, in my life? No, it’s not my mom who has the Big C. It’s my best friend. And she’s a mom.

I hadn’t mentioned her before so as to respect her privacy. She wanted to go through her treatments without the entire planet knowing her business, and I can totally understand why she might have wanted that.

But now, things are different. My friend is now dying.

How can I describe my friend accurately? I met Marie-Elaine when we were 19 years old, on our very first day of university. Walking down the train quay with another friend of mine, we spotted her from far away, and she spotted us. I can’t remember what she was wearing, but she was probably wearing black, as usual. But somehow, all I see when I look back to this day is the color yellow. Marie-Elaine to me is sunshine, smiles, and energy. And so she’s standing there, spots our frosh bracelets that match hers, and gives out a huge shout and comes running towards us asking us what we’re going to be studying.

This was the first day of a long and awesome chapter of my life. We went through a lot together and learned a lot from it, Marie and I. I myself learned how NEVER to speak against the boyfriend, even if my friend is thinking of dumping him. I learned NEVER to say “good” when they finally broke up because really, there is nothing more awkward than them getting back together and her knowing what you really think. I learned to listen without judging, without shaming and without thinking that I know better than the friend that’s sitting across from me. I’ve learned to live life alongside my friends, and be truly excited for everything that could happen in that friend’s life.

Marie is the kind of person who always tries to grow from her experiences. Even if someone hurts her, she always tries her hardest to understand that person. She sees the best in everyone. Even if they have done wrong to her.

Marie has always been the one to take care of others. Unconditionally, she will take you in and help you out, no matter what situation you are going through. She might be going through the worst shit herself, but she will put it aside for you.

Marie is 30 years old. Her life has just started. 4 years ago, she was one of the few to actually meet her true soul mate. Their love story is truly one of the most beautiful stories I know (aside from the Notebook, of course!).  With Maxime, she learned to finally push aside what others might think of their situation, and she threw herself with abandonment into her life, a life which was pretty fucking amazing.

2 years ago, they got married. Their wedding had to be pushed forward because… she was pregnant!!

Marie pregnant was radiant. She was so happy, so excited about being a mom. She spent months preparing both her wedding and her baby’s life without at the same time obsessing over silly details. She was probably the most at peace I’d ever seen her in her life. It’s like she knew that this was the path she was meant to be on. This was just about as right as right could get.

Marie and Max put out one of the most beautiful babies into the world. I am so fortunate to be able to witness Marie as a mom. The most patient, attentive and loving mom I have ever seen. She is a role model to me, someone from whom I was determined to learn how to be a mom. I remember her looking at me with the most intense eyes, and telling me how motherhood what was she was meant to do in this life. She is so happy being her daughter’s mother and her husband’s wife. Already 6 months in, she was talking about baby number 2. And she looked up at me and said “we should totally time our next babies together!”

Marie was the first person I called the day I found out I was pregnant (only because my boyfriend wasn’t answering the phone though…). When she found out the big news, she screamed SO LOUDLY! She was so excited for me, for us. She started talking about us raising the children together. It would be perfect because they would be close in age. And then we could time our seconds together ;).

We would sit for hours in coffee shops. That was our thing. We did this with no one else, really. Just go out for coffee and dessert, and chat about everything. Now, her with her baby, and me with my belly. We would talk about our next vacations being on the beach with the girls. Of course, we would wait for mine to be old enough to sit in the sand without eating said sand ;).

We talked with our men of going to Alsace all of us together, sipping wine and eating amazing food while watching the scenery. Wine was their thing. It’s also our thing. Let’s say we enjoyed quite a few bottles together!

The day that I found out that Marie had a brain tumor was one of the worst days of my life. One small text message. It said so much and so little at the same time. I had to sit there and read that paragraph over and over, trying to squeeze as much information as possible out of it. And then wait.

It turns out that the day that I met Marie, and long before that, cancerous cells were gathering together and holding an awesome party in her brain. For years, they just stayed there, growing discreetly without making any noise. No one knew what was there. Until she was 30 years old, climbing the stairs of her house with her daughter in her arms and she fell.

I’m not going to go into detail about what happened next. To me, Marie is still Marie, despite what all of the side effects of both the disease and their treatments have done to her body. When I look in her eyes, and we talk like we always have, I don’t see the cancer. I see my best friend, the one that I am about to lose.

What I can say is that she has a highly aggressive malignant stage 4 cancer. Her entire right side is now entirely paralyzed.

I’m not one of those people who blames God for this. I’m not trying to make sense of this situation. The one thing I know is that cancer doesn’t discriminate. It will choose you no matter how awesome you are and what you’ve achieved in your life.

But this cancer will leave my friend’s daughter motherless. It kills me that, if she dies soon, her daughter’s memories will mostly come from the videos and the photo albums, and through the stories that her family will tell her.

There was a whole life that had been sketched out, and that sketch looked pretty fucking amazing before Cancer decided to give its final crushing blow.

Throughout all of this though, there’s one thing I know for certain. Because Marie has always embraced her life to the fullest, because she has been such an awesome mom from the first day she found out she was pregnant, she will be leaving her child with an awesome foundation on which Maxime and the rest of their families will be able to build upon. Her daughter is strong and will continue to be strong because, deep down within her, she will always feel deep and unconditional love from within.

Her life will not end senselessly because she always made sure to give sense to everything in her life. Never could she look back and say “I should have done X” or “I wish I could have done Y.”

Marie will continue to live through everyone she has touched in her life. A little bit of her is there within all of us. Even after her death, she will continue to look down upon us all, free from her diseased body, and she’ll just continue to light up our lives.

I don’t know how long we have left with her. A month? A year? But we will take advantage of every moment we have.


One thought on “When a Mom has Cancer.

  1. I’m going to send this to my friend who also has cancer….and a daughter that just turned one. Thank you for sharing this.

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