This daughter’s heartbreaking letter on the loss of her mother to cancer evokes tears while inspiring readers

The essay that follows is an emotional journey through the author’s mother’s battle with Sarcoma Cancer and her eventual death. The author brilliantly conveys the love, strength, and precious moments shared with her remarkable mother, from the early delight and excitement of high school graduation to the heart-wrenching moments leading up to her mother’s last breath.

The author’s drive to achieve her mother’s goals, the agony of saying goodbye, and the lasting impact of her mother’s selflessness and love are all highlighted in the article. Finally, it is a moving tribute to a remarkable woman and a reminder of the eternal presence of a mother’s love.It was May 2022, and my life was meant to be at its pinnacle, until it wasn’t.

An early photo of Ryan with her mother.

I graduated from high school and spent senior week at the beach with my graduating class. I couldn’t have been more excited to begin my adulthood and college career. My mum was diagnosed with Sarcoma Cancer in January 2021 and required chemotherapy and radiation treatments.Every day since her diagnosis, she has lost a different aspect of her life. She was a strong, resilient, kind, caring woman who was the best mother anyone could have.

She never asked the physicians for a life expectancy since she wanted to spend as much time as she could with her three children and spouse. My mother set out with the intention of witnessing my senior prom and seeing me and my sister, Madeleine, walk across the stage at graduation. She accomplished both of her objectives.

On May 26, 2022, I stepped across that stage at graduation, joyfully watched by my wheelchair-bound mother. The moment I stepped onto that stage, I felt her overwhelming love and knew she was so proud of me, and that was all that mattered at the time. I received a text message after graduation that said, “I love you so much and am so proud of you.”Those statements made me feel like I’d just won the Super Bowl.

Ryan giving her mom a tight hug.

She didn’t get out much, so being able to attend graduation was a huge accomplishment for her, and it took a lot out of her. We had a joyful supper at home, and she was too tired to remain awake. Although her absence from dinner was disappointing, I was grateful she was able to attend and fulfill her objective.
That night, I was looking forward to my week-long beach trip with all of my dearest pals.

I texted my mom and facetimed her all week while I was away, telling her about the drama that was going on with all of my pals. Until Friday, when my mom stopped responding to my texts and FaceTime conversations. I was concerned and considered texting my father to see if she was okay, but I let it go and continued with my last night at the beach.

I couldn’t wait to come home and tell my family about my week. Instead, I arrived home to find my mother in bed, and my father sat me and my two older siblings down and informed us that our mother wasn’t doing well and that he was concerned. At the time, I thought my father was being dramatic and exaggerating, and that she would be fine.

Mom lovingly kisses her beautiful daughter.

My father decided to take her to the hospital after much deliberation. She went from her room to the basement and then into the automobile. They told her at the hospital that her spine is 75% crushed due to the tumors growing rapidly. I thought to myself that my mother was a superhero since she walked on an almost collapsed spine. My mother entered hospice care at that moment and never got out of bed again.

We informed all of our family and friends that her life was coming to an end. I was in shock for the first several days after she entered hospice care; I couldn’t believe my mother would die when I was just 18 years old. I recall texting my sister, Madeleine, and asking, “Is Mom going to die?” Her response was, “In a few weeks, yeah.” My heart was crushed into a million fragments.

I knew then that I was going to make the most of the time I had left with my mother and not look back. I didn’t want to look back on the final few weeks I had with my mother and say, “I wish I had spent more time with her,” so I did all in my power to keep my future self from feeling that way. As friends and family members arrived, I was lying in bed close to my mother, holding her hand.

I had no idea what my life was going to be like. My mother told us on a regular basis that she loved us and that when she died, she wanted us to move on. “When I take my last breath,” she said, “I want you guys to dance, don’t cry, dance.” Days began to blur together as my mother wandered in and out of consciousness over the next few weeks.

Ryan's mom attending her graduation.

I recall sitting in bed with my door open and my parents’ bedroom door open, afraid I’d hear Mom draw her final breath. She began chatting to her departed mother in her dream, promising her that she will see her soon.My family’s anguish was something I would never wish on anyone. We were on lockdown, spending time with my mother and seeing her progressively deteriorate through the stages of dying.

I was in a mental rut, I wasn’t eating as much as I should have, and my main goal was to spend as much time as possible with her. On July 7th, my mother closed her eyes and murmured to my father, “I’m so tired, I need to go, I will see you later.” My father came down the stairs and informed us all that we needed to say our final goodbyes.

My elder siblings took the stage first. I began walking back and forth because I didn’t want to say goodbye to my best friend. I started up the stairs, tears streaming down my face, and then I stopped, I couldn’t do it. I went into my folks’ bathroom till I had the strength to say farewell. I approached my mother, kissed her on the cheek, and told her I’d see her later and that I loved her.

Ryan by her mom's side.

When word spread that it might be the day she died, family members flocked to say their final goodbyes, until my mother unexpectedly awoke. She has been in hospice for 4.5 weeks at this time. I felt upset when she opened her eyes. I was disappointed that my mother was still living. I felt like a disgusting human being. I walked outside with my heart in my throat when I noticed my father leaning over on the phone, crying.

I couldn’t bear the thought of having to say goodbye again. My mother was up and talking for almost 5 days before succumbing to absolute oblivion. My father decided to kick me and my siblings out and send us to our aunt’s beach house since he didn’t want us to see her in that condition any longer. My mother’s favorite spot was the beach. She would sit on the beach from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

She would jump at any opportunity to go to the beach, especially if it meant spending more time with her children. She sat in the sun with a Grapefruit Crush in her hand. She was in her element and looked stunning on the beach. I was sitting on the beach when I realized I couldn’t tell my mother what I was thinking.My mother was still alive, but I couldn’t communicate with her.

I was exhausted. I didn’t want this to be the end of things. “Ryan, me, and Tommy (my brother) are going to see Jason Aldean on Sunday, do you want to go?” my sister asked. I wanted to leave, but the word “no” came out of my mouth. All I could think of after that was my mother. I told my siblings I needed to return home that night since I couldn’t be away from mom any longer.

Mother and daughter holding each other's hand.

My mother’s condition had not changed when we returned home. Hospice urged us to leave her alone and she will die on her own. I awoke a few days after returning home from the beach to find my siblings getting ready to go to the performance while my father and I stayed at home with my mother.I took a nap at 3 p.m. and awoke to my father coming out of their room and asking, “Can you go check her breathing?”

When I walked in and saw she had the death rattle, I knew this was the day. My father and I alternated going in and checking on her till around 7:30.
We were lying in bed with her when we noticed her skin was really cold. I lay there till I couldn’t any longer and then walked downstairs. My biggest nightmare came true around 9 p.m. I rounded the corner as I heard my father’s footsteps and said, “I think so, I think she’s gone.”

I’d never felt such heartbreak and emptiness before. We then had to contact my siblings who were at the show. We called them each approximately 20 times. When my brother eventually answered the phone, we had to tell them over the phone. The moment I heard my sister scream and sob, I realized I was in real life.

Friends and family members began to arrive; I greeted my siblings outdoors and hugged them in the driveway as they returned from the concert. “We didn’t answer your calls because we were dancing,” my sister explained. We were dancing when mum died, just as she had requested.” In this moment, I felt relief because my mother died the way she wanted to, and I knew she was no longer in pain.

As I continue to live my life without my mother, I understand that everything I do is to make her proud. As a person, I have evolved and grown. As I am continually paralyzed by the anguish created by her passing, I remind myself that I am fortunate to be feeling this much pain because my mother was such a wonderful person.

Nothing makes me happier than being able to pick up the phone and contact my mother, but I know she is looking over me and observing my every step. I will be eternally thankful to her for fighting her hardest for a month and a half to give us the time we urgently needed to say goodbye to her. Every day, I thank God for her presence and am grateful to have the best Angel watching over me. In honor of the most wonderful Mother…

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