A Mother’s Diagnosis: Navigating Loss and Hope

I eventually learned through religion that these are all trials in this life that we must endure. I suddenly stopped asking why me and began to look for solutions because guess what my friends, life will go on.

Salaam to all my brothers and sisters. It was a difficult and painful decision to write about my struggles in life but I have learned over the years that I am not alone in my journey. For years I have not spoken to my friends while avoiding family as I gripped through my depression for almost a decade.

I guess it all began when I finished secondary school in 2001 at age 16. I was excited to leave school and begin a new life abroad, planning to work part-time and study at an international level. Small girl with big dreams but it all came crashing down one day.

As I sat on the kitchen table studying, my mom came and whispered in my ear that she was diagnosed with cancer. Boy did I get the shock of my life. As I watched her walk away from me in horror, I knew without saying a word that it was already too late for her. As we did further tests, she was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. 

How do you come to terms with that type of news? What does this mean for my family? Did all my big dreams suddenly come to an end right then and there? The pain I felt that day is still very clear in my mind. You suddenly regret every wrong decision you ever made in your life towards your mother because guess what my friends, the nightmare of losing your mother just became my reality.

At 16 years, I quickly had to adjust to a mature life, from student to caretaker. What? How do I even do that? I found myself making groceries and cooking every day. I realized that I no longer had the luxury of coming home to mom’s home-cooked meal anymore. Boy was it difficult. I watched my friends go to parties as I stayed at home tending to my mom. I listened to my friends asking me why am I going to the market as they went to school but I said nothing to them.

How can they begin to understand life without your mom? Unfortunately, the only persons who would truly understand are the persons who lost their mom as well. No matter how much I explain or talk through my emotions, you will never grasp it fully. That emptiness will reside in you for a long time. My mother eventually died in 2004 but the pain remained for over a decade.

There is never an occasion that went by that I didn’t cry myself to sleep, like Christmas or worst yet, Mother’s Day. I secretly hated the month of May, as I didn’t want to see any reminders of Mother’s Day. I used to look at photos and cry as I slowly began to realize that she is now a memory. The big question now is how do you deal with death? I even went so far as to wishing that there would be a day in which humans can visit their deceased loved ones where ever they may be but that wish never came through for me. 

I eventually learned through religion that these are all trials in this life that we must endure. I suddenly stopped asking why me and began to look for solutions because guess what my friends, life will go on. As I slowly came out of this phase, I realized that I was now in the year 2015, like really?? I asked my friends about their kids and I was quite shocked to hear their ages now. My family even told me that they haven’t seen me in over a decade. So where was I all this time? 

Although I was physically present, I was never really here mentally. I felt as though I just awoke from a coma and I am seeing people and things for the first time. I am not sure how many people understood what I went through but not everyone was willing to talk back to me after so long. I quickly had to bring myself up-to-date with the real world but I learned to be sincere to myself and to others.

I learned to call upon the Almighty for help and remember the hereafter in my daily prayer. I now strive to keep good company as I could not have made it this far without positive people in my life.

As I slowly began to network in the wider society, the key to a successful life to me is indeed humbleness. Yes, my friends at any time, we can all hit rock bottom like I did but if I wasn’t a humble person, I would never have made it back to the top to write about it all now. Ameen!

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