The expression of deep sorrow for someone that is gone
“You will always remember what it was like before. You will always mourn that loss. Your life will now be separated into ‘before cancer’ and ‘after cancer.’ It is a dividing point when everything changes. You will see a picture and think “this was pre-cancer” or “this was post-cancer.” A memory will be categorized into before diagnosis or after diagnosis. You will be a different person. Nothing remains the same.”
The Mourning is real. It bubbles up unexpectedly at a smell, a memory, a familiar drive. Tears streamed down my face as I watched my eldest son in his Thanksgiving Day performance because right next to him was the class Teddy was supposed to be in at the same school. As I watched the chubby three year olds in their turkey hats, my heart ached - for a life that used to be mine that no longer exists. The Mourning keeps me from making the trip to my former hospital and cleaning out my locker and saying goodbye to the nursing career I’ve grown there for the past 8 years. The Mourning is accepting that doctor appointments, MRIs, IEPs, and hospital visits are now part of my daily routine. The Mourning is realizing that a simple morning where both of my boys woke up, got dressed, came downstairs and raced to open the curtains first (a ritual I used to hate which often ended in tears from the loser) was a privilege, now gone, that I had taken for granted.
The Morning is real. The first time I awoke after learning Teddy had cancer was different than any morning I had ever experienced. It felt strange - the realization that the events of the day prior were not a nightmare, but reality. The acceptance that I would need to navigate a new “normal” if my family was going to survive this thing. The subsequent surgery and hospital stay, ravaged with complications, broke me in more ways than one; that first morning I emerged as a new girl, a new mother, a new wife. I didn’t realize it yet, but I was different. Forever changed at the unfolding realization that nothing would ever be the same…