When I started “Daughter of Cancer,” the only purpose it held, as far as I was concerned, was an outlet for what I was feeling and couldn’t share with my friends and family. I felt like I was exploding inside and had to get things out, but did not want to burden anyone with my feelings (it’s just who I am).

What has happened over the past year has been nothing less than shocking to me; Turns out this blog has become a place for people who are going through what I am going through – or are about to, or already have – to see that there are other people experiencing the same exact feelings and pain that, with all good intentions, cannot be fathomed by someone “on the outside.”

I often receive comments and private emails from people who thank me for the blog. More often than that, I get emails from people who ask me how I can live without my mom, how I wake up every day, how I function. I received one such email this morning. Seeing as the one year anniversary of my mom’s death is coming up next week (according to the Hebrew calendar, 2 weeks later according to the regular one), this is a topic I’ve been reflecting on a lot lately. Below you will find the answer to this morning’s email (almost verbatim). I thought my readers may find it interesting and, perhaps, helpful.

Dear Reader,

Sunday will be the 1 year anniversary of my mom’s death (according to the Jewish calendar). My mom’s chemos didn’t help her – she was on 3 or 4 different types. What’s worse is that once she was deemed terminal (officially, seeing as glioblastoma is terminal cancer to begin with), the doctor whose study she was in became really rude. Like we don’t matter anymore since we’re no good for the study. When we called to ask what to do, he told us we aren’t his problem anymore.

As for how do I start each day without my mom? Shockingly, I do. I don’t know how. Before she died, and before she was terminal, and before she was even sick, I never thought I’d be able to survive not having my mom around. Not at an earlier time than I’d expect (old age).

But I do, somehow. I was very lucky in that I fell in love a month after she died. I honestly don’t know how I would have gone through it without him. I don’t mean that I would talk to him about stuff, because I wouldn’t. What I mean is that suddenly this amazing thing happened to me and I was distracted. My distraction clearly delayed my grief (sort of), but it made it come in bites that were easier to handle, I guess.

Regardless, my sisters have gotten through it, too. One is married with 2 kids, but the other isn’t, and she didn’t have anyone this year.

I always thought not having my mom would kill me. It hasn’t. I have no idea how. But it’s hard. Don’t think every day is a bright new challenge. I had a terrible day on Tuesday, one that even had me angry at The Boy, and we don’t fight. Everything was annoying me, and I couldn’t stop crying. It happens.

Before she died I would run away to cry privately, but I don’t control it anymore. I have given into it, and it actually helped. Not caring what people say. They get used to it. People who don’t know you probbaly won’t say anytihng anyway, and people who know you may, but probably won’t. If anyone asks, I say I’m sorry, I can’t control it anymore, it will pass, just ignore it. Just like I have told my coworker several times over the past few days.

My personal position was that I would never talk to anyone about how I was feeling and I would cry privately, but towards the end, when my mom couldn’t recognize me anymore and didn’t understand what was going on around her, I just couldn’t anymore. I lost control of my emotions. And it is still like that, though not as hard. And apparently it isn’t the end of the world.

I try to focus on events. I think of how long until X happens. For example, Sunday will be my mom’s memorial. Instead of focusing on that, I try to focus on the fact that my 1 year anniversary with The Boy will be a month later. I think of friends’ and family’s birthday parties, of trips or vacations I go on, on meetings that I will soon have with friends whom I haven’t seen in a while. I talk to my 4 year old nephew who always something hilarious to say, and I go to my ballet classes. They don’t make me as happy as they used to, but that’s OK, I still usually enjoy them. I think about the launch of the new website at work, and the family dinner we’ll be having on Friday. That’s how I get through the hard days.

Thankfully, the hard days don’t happen as often as they used to. And when they do, I just try to get through them without hurting the people who care about me. It’s all part of being the other type of cancer survivor.

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