I am a fan of the reality show The Little Couple on TLC. This season, Jen, one of the main characters, finds out she has cancer and has to go through chemo. The show did an awesome job following the journey. I laughed and I cried. Each week I felt like I was going through it with her and her family. The downfall to watching though has been that it made me feel so guilty. It was a constant reminder that I wasn’t there when my mom needed me.
My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer during my senior year of college. I lived 2,000 miles away. I will never forget the call that November. “I want you to know everything is going to be okay…I have cancer.” I listened in shock. My mom could die. She was sick and there was nothing I could do.
I got to go home at Christmas. By that time she had had a double mastectomy and was recovering prior to chemo. It was a tough Christmas. She started chemo a few days after I left. Though my mom, dad and I spoke multiple times a week, I just wish I could have been there to help. I could hear the strain in their voices. They were tired and struggling and I was 2000 miles away. I couldn’t sit with my mom when she was receiving treatment, I couldn’t hold her hand as they shaved her head, nor could I help her get out of bed when she was hopeless. My mom had cancer and I had class.
In April, I was able to be fly home for the weekend and surprise my mom. When I saw her all I wanted to do was hug her and cry. She was frail and sickly. She had very little color in her face and you could tell she was just tired. That weekend I did not cry, but instead tried my hardest to make her smile as much as possible. This was my chance to help her and I put my all into the attempt.
My mom finished her treatment in May and to this day is cancer free. I am so grateful that she had the strength and will to kick cancers ass. I am forever thankful for my family who took care of her. My dad, sister, grandparents, and aunts all chipped in where ever they could. I know that I did the right thing finishing school instead of running home but I don’t think the guilt will ever go away.
I’m sorry mom.