Dening Day, my mother, has been my dearest friend since I was a child. She, like many mothers, made numerous sacrifices to assist me in achieving my goals. She was always there to encourage me to keep going when things seemed unattainable. When Mum was diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer, I knew I’d have to face the terrible chore of commemorating Mother’s Day without her one day.
That will happen this year. My mother succumbed to the disease in early March, and while my family and I mourn her loss today, we are doing our best to commemorate her by honoring the unshakeable courage that defined her life and touched so many others. Of course, this isn’t easy, but Mum was the type of person who could always see the bright side of things, believing that life was a gift even in her worst moments.
It was a heartbreaking shock to our family when Mum was diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer. While the rest of us struggled with the prospect of a future without her, she remained upbeat and hopeful. Mum was correct, as always.
We talked to Mum’s doctors about her choices and discovered that biomarker testing could assist her doctors complete her diagnosis by providing genetic information about her tumor and determining tailored therapy options for her specific type of lung cancer.
Mum’s resilience and resolve taught us a crucial lesson: when someone you care about is told they may only have a little time to live, every day you have with them, and every chance to fight the sickness, becomes a gift and something you share.
As a family, we went through Mum’s treatment together. She joined my wife, Ellie, and me at our home. My wife and I became her caretakers instead of my mother, who had cared for me my entire life. Although playing the position of caretaker was not always easy, I was grateful for the chance to spend more time with her. Ellie stepped up to aid Mum and me in ways I couldn’t have imagined, becoming our family’s emotional rock.
I was furious when she was first diagnosed, and lung cancer threatened to take my mother from us too soon. I’m thankful for the additional memories we’ve made during her lung cancer struggle today. Her diagnosis helped us understand that our time as a family should never be taken for granted, from weeknight dinners, painting lessons, and vacations to my mother being there for those golden moments during holidays with our children.
While this Mother’s Day and the ones after it may not be easy, I will remember my mother, Dening Day, and her incredible ability to focus on the positive and find ways to inspire others even when she was struggling—a lesson Ellie and I will make sure our children learn as well.
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