About her

            She was less than a month shy of 35 when she finally died.

            A non-smoker, she had nonetheless been diagnosed with lung cancer.  By the time she got her persistent cough checked out, she was too sick for anything but palliative treatments.  She got her affairs in order, recorded home movies for her young daughters, and tried to remain hopeful even as the cancer ravaged through her body.

            She did not live to see me turn two.  She did not live to publish her first book.  She did not live to turn 35.

            She left us behind, knowing he could not care for us.  She had no choice.  She was leaving her daughters and knew it and could do nothing to change it.

            My second child has turned two, a milestone I was relieved to witness.  I have not published my first book.  And my 35th birthday is on September 25. 

            I will be on tenterhooks until then.  I am not superstitious, but then again, maybe I am.  Check in with me on the 26th.

23 responses to “About her

  1. It is probably hard to not think of how your life would have been different “if”…

    I think you are well on your way to fulfilling goals that your mother would have wanted for herself and for you.

  2. You are not the only one.

    My mother died at 35 years, leaving myself (10), my brother (5), and sister (2). She would have defended her Master’s thesis a few months later. She would have raised her children, and continued to live and grow old with her loving partner.

    Her heart just failed one night. No cause, but that it was not as thick a muscle as it should have been to bear and raise three children, have a career, a marriage, and a life.

    I am only 30, and I currently bear my first child. I have my Master’s degree, and a loving husband. I haven’t “succeeded” yet, but I am content with my current life. And still I wonder (I can’t help it) if I will live to see more than 5 more years…

  3. Oh Emily, I’m so sorry. This is heartbreaking. I can’t imagine how she must have felt as I cannot imagine being taken from my children.

    My friend Jenn died a month ago, at 34, leaving 5 children from age 8 down to 18 months. Breast cancer. It’s so hard. It’s almost beyond my comprehension.

    You are very blessed, obviously! This will be a birthday to celebrate for sure.

  4. I know what you mean. My sister died a week before her 9th birthday and I specifically remember breathing a sigh of relief on my 9th birthday. I made it!
    When you add children to the equation I imagine the relief is compounded by a million.
    Prayers for you.

  5. It will be a weighty gift, all that the future holds, each time you stop to remember “she did not.”

  6. What a hard thing to deal with. Two weeks to go….I’m sure you’ll make it. I’m sure she’d be thrilled to see all that you’ve done.

  7. Oof. I’ll be thinking of you.

    (Incidentally, that’s also my husband’s birthday…)

  8. Oh Emily – I didn’t realize you lost your mom at such a young age – how heartbreaking…

  9. Wow. I’m sad for you, but I’m really really sad for *her.*

  10. how about I check with you everyday, instead?

  11. Just seconding what everyone else has said. 🙂

  12. Oh, Emily.

    This makes me think of the passage from The Princess Bride that I posted the other day, about life not being fair, that the wrong people die.

  13. Oh my. Oh my. Oh my.

  14. I don’t know how we are ever supposed to come to terms with the cruelty of life. That’s what I hear in this post, the impossibility of understanding something so raw and brutal and so taking its patterns upon yourself instead, as if playing them out again over your own body might make sense of them. Your mum would already have been sick by your age now, right? Her fate is not yours; yours is to honor the gift of life she gave you, and you seem to be doing pretty marvellously well at that.

  15. Cannot begin to imagine. Her loss. Your loss. Her knowing what she was losing. You perhaps not then, but so acutely now.

    Here’s to 2nd birthdays. And 35 year old mamas.

  16. Pingback: Since so many of you have asked « Wheels on the bus

  17. Wow. I cannot imagine the fear knowing you are going to leave your children behind. I am relieved to see you are here with children of your own.

  18. Oh Emily – I know you must be anxious – but know we are all covering you in good thoughts and prayers as you prepare to bring your next precious life to this world!

  19. I am thinking of you!

  20. Emily, I seriously wish I lived closer so I could sit down and talk with you about this. I think you know my mom died when she was 34 and I turned 34 this year. It is such a strange feeling, and I think I know just what you’re feeling now. My best thoughts and prayers are with you.

  21. Oh darlin’. I don’t know you at all, but this makes me want to give you a great big hug. We all worry about leaving our kids too soon, but you must worry about it ever so much more. Your upcoming birthday will clearly be a very powerful milestone in your life. ((HUGS))