This post is sponsored by Aflac. I was compensated for writing it, but all opinions are 100-percent mine.
There it was.
The familiarity of it hit hard.
The curves in the letters.
The penmanship was beautiful – like always.
I’d needed to see it today, though it was by accident that it was in my hands. But sometimes that’s how things work.
I’ve missed her more than usual. There have been a lot more tears flowing lately, though it’s been almost 10 years since I whispered goodbye in that hospital room.
You see I’ve learned the hard way that grief isn’t something you get through – as if there was another side that will let you escape. Grief is something you learn to live with everyday. The pain never completely goes away, it just gets easier to deal with life on a day to day basis. Though joy and laughter will eventually return, there are moments which will inevitably come where the pain is as vivid as the moment it first happened. Moments where you just curl up and cry…..even wail.
I’ve had a moment like that this week.
Breast cancer took my mom’s life years ago, yet even as an adult I find myself NEEDING her.
You know exactly what I’m talking about. MOM is the person you call and tell everything to, right? You get the dream job, you call MOM. The boy asks you to marry him, you call MOM. And those moments, when I called my mom, were amazing. She was always there, cheering me on.
But then there were the moments she hasn’t been there……big, life-changing moments. Like the time I found out I was expecting. Or during the first ultrasound when I heard the due date was actually my mom’s birthday. (WHAT?!?!) Or in the delivery room. Or Grandparents Day at school.
Funny thing is that sometimes it’s in the quiet moments where I miss her the most.
This week I found myself at home, alone, with a broken foot. And I cried like I haven’t cried in a long time. I think it was the looming anniversary of 10 years without her combined with the fact that I knew if my mom were alive, she’d be here at my house taking care of me and this silly foot. You know…….taking me to my Dr. appointments, picking up my daughter from school everyday, making dinner for my family. That’s just who she was.
Not having that hurts. Not having her hurts.
That’s why seeing her handwriting was something I needed. It was something so familiar. Her words to me, though written sometimes decades ago, calmed me.
I see the words and feel so many emotions – Love, Anger, Empathy, Faith, even Fear.
These words spur lots of conversations in my family and plenty of research. Having 2 grandmothers who were diagnosed with the disease on top of my own mother makes it a priority.
Conversations about Mammograms: It’s a priority for my sister and I (and has been ever since I was in my 30s, when I got a “baseline mammogram” to compare against all future ones). And though there are always changing guidelines on who should get a mammogram and when, remember to take your health into your own hands after much research and conversation…..and trust your gut!
Conversations about Genetic Testing: This is one that continues to be talked about. Since my sister and I are almost out of child-bearing years, we’ll probably revisit again soon.
Conversations about Cancer Insurance Policies: While I didn’t have full access to my mom’s medical bills, I saw enough. With 2 surgeries and 6 months of chemotherapy, I can only imagine the costs. Thankfully, my parents had health insurance – good insurance at that. But there were still out of pocket expenses, missed work and more.
Getting a breast cancer diagnosis is an incredibly stressful time. Treatment can bring even more stress, trust me. The last thing one needs is additional stress and it’s nice to know that a cancer insurance policy can be used not only for treatment expenses (not covered by major medical insurance), but also for extra child care that may be needed, transportation to and from the doctor or treatments, and even everyday living expenses, such as mortgage payments or groceries.
Can you imagine the relief that brings? As a mom of a young child, I like knowing that any child care needed would be covered with this type of cancer insurance policy.
It’s October and that usually means more conversations and reminders. That’s okay in my book because it means we are talking about breast cancer, something that hasn’t always easily been talked about, even during my lifetime.
This month Aflac will be partnering with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) again for its second annual This Duck Wears Pink campaign.
All net proceeds are going to the AACR for the specific purpose of funding research aimed at finding a cure for breast cancer.
Aflac supports the groundbreaking work of the AACR – the first and largest cancer research organization in the world with a membership of more than 35,000 professionals residing in 101 countries working on the front lines of the effort to eradicate cancer. The AACR backs every aspect of high-quality, innovative cancer research.
That’s important to my family……and the girls within – my sister, myself, and my 8 year old daughter.
Are you dealing with grief?
Has your life been touched by breast cancer?
Have you ever thought about a cancer insurance policy?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.