20th Century Fox Film Corporation

A Letter To My Mom: What I Want To Say During Her Battle With Cancer


Dear Mom,

One day, everything will be different.

One day, you will have a sink full of hair, the same hair that once fell softly on your shoulders.

One day, your legs will become smooth without ever running a razor across them. One day, your eyebrows will turn pale, and you’ll lose your eyelashes.

You’ll try to add some extra eyeliner to those once hopeful, beautiful blue eyes that now are weighed down with all the worry in the world.

I won’t always be supportive. I’m sorry about that.

Sometimes, this life, this chaos that became our new existence, is too much for me. Sometimes, the thought of it is agonizing.

I know I’m supposed to be selfless, but seeing you is hard for me.

I wish it could change. I want it to change.

I’m getting better at it.

The first time I come home and see your hair growing in small patches on your scalp, I go into hysterics. It's not because you’re scary; it's because you’re different.

I never want to lose you. The sight of your hairless scalp reminds me you’re sick, and we all have an expiration date.

There are many nights when you fall asleep too early. I overhear you from the other room, grinding your teeth and snoring in that cute, obnoxious way you do. However, when I see you the next morning, I’m annoyed by the fact that all you do is sleep your life away.

It’s unfair.

You spend hours trying to explain to me that the chemo drains your body in ways you never thought existed. And you’re right.

But all I feel is fear.

I feel like I need to keep you going all hours of the day; that’s how you’ll make it through this. Sometimes, that’s what I need to believe, despite how ridiculous it sounds.

You didn't know it back then, but you've been sick for a while.

Suddenly, all those tired afternoons, the achey feeling that now steadily radiates through your bones, all makes sense.

You have cancer.

You pick up the phone one Thursday evening, with your voice no more than a whisper, and you tell me what's going on.

As soon as we hang up, I crash to the floor.

I’m paralyzed because I love you more than anything in this world, more than any stupid relationship I've ever had or any dreams I’ve ever wanted.

When we hang up the phone, my life comes crashing down because you are my life.

I tended to take you for granted.

Before the sickness, the aching bones, the vomiting, the sleepless nights, the tormented mornings, the loss of hair, the surgeries, the scar that sits on top of your left breast and the wigs, I took you for granted repeatedly.

I yelled at you. I said you were the worst mom on the planet. I slammed doors in your face. I insulted you behind your back.

But now, I am paralyzed on my living room floor, with your words lingering in my broken heart.

I think back to the time I said I hated you, when I thought you were selfish, when I wished you wouldn’t be around.

I blame it on the teenage years. But, I would love to go back and kick that teenage version of myself right in the ass.

She’s not wise. She’s ignorant.

She’s a teenager, yes, but she is the luckiest kid in the world to have a mom like you. She's so lucky to have someone who has always stood in her corner, who supported her and who kicked her in the rear if she ever felt sorry for herself for one single minute.

Teenage me is stupid, but present me isn’t. I never take you for granted.

One day, you’re going to view the little things and understand they’re nothing.

One day, everything is going to change, and there will be many moments when it seems like your world is falling apart.

One day, you’ll weep while straightening out your wig.

One day, I’ll cry during a commercial in which a mother and daughter are hugging. These little instances will be hard.

But, the in-between moments will make up for it. They will be the ones when we sip coffee together on the front porch, the moments when you nag me about taking an umbrella to work and the moments when you tell me you’re going to be an amazing grandmother one day.

And the truth is that I know you will. And Madelyn (at least, that's what I hope her name will be one day) will love you just as much I do.