It was a typical lazy afternoon in Mammoth Lakes, California. I was still living in a post-breakup fog, attempting to be social in our local coffee shop. I had spent my morning drinking yerba and planning a climbing session with a few of my girlfriends. I was just about to pack up and head out of the coffee shop when I got the call. It was my dad. “I’ve got something we need to discuss”, he said.
I still remember exactly how I felt my heart drop to the floor. As if the last year wasn’t enough. My mom had already survived liver failure, multiple brain surgeries, even death. We’d all been through so much…and he we go again.
If you know me, or have been following my blog from the beginning, you know this story well. This was the moment my father informed me of my mother’s cancer. Breast cancer. He also informed me of her recent mastectomy, with mets found in her lymph nodes. Stage III. All this information, at once, crammed into my already broken heart. The world was ending.
My father told me they had known for a while, but decided it would be best to wait until I had time to recover from my breakup. This breakup was one of those life-stopping, soul-crushing game changers. I wasn’t healed, but starting to wake from my emotional coma. But now? Now I was spiraling out of control.
3 years ago, today, I had this conversation with my father. In a coffee shop. 2,500 miles away from my family. My boyfriend was gone, and my mother was going to die. For real this time.
3 months later, my mother passed away in a hospital bed, alone. To this day, I still haven’t forgiven myself for not getting there in time to say goodbye. Nothing can erase it. I’ll carry it with me, always.