You, Me, We

I decided to include this post from August, 13th 2014. I started writing when my Mom was diagnosed with cancer because it was therapeutic for me… so If I can help anyone who is grieving.

My Mom passed away 9 months after her diagnosis- April, 27, 2015.

I don't want to forget anything.  Well, that's actually a lie.  Most mornings I wake up hoping this isn't happening at all.  That it was just a bad dream.

Most of you probably know my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV Duodenal (small intestine) cancer a month ago.  To say we were devastated is an understatement.  It came out of nowhere.  She is 66 years old, and a week before we found out, she was running around literally racing/chasing my boys.

What I do want to remember is every little detail about my mom.  How she says my name, what she smells like, when I tell her any little tidbit about the boys, her face lights up with pure joy and pride.  Or when I call her, every single time with out fail she answers, 'I was JUST thinking about you!'  I laugh every time, and she insists, 'No, really I was JUST thinking about you!'   Thats what I want to hold onto right now.

I'm coming to realize that this is the beginning of a difficult fight, with this terrifying, confusing, shitty disease.  Cancer.  The disease we've come to know all to well in the last 5 weeks of our lives.  But, we can't give up.  We won't give up.  And, I want my mom to know, and I remind her daily, that she is never alone in this fight.

Our family, friends, neighbors have swept in to take care of us.  It brings tears to my eyes. Babysitting, dinners, play dates, rides to school, letters, phone calls, books, emails, and texts- I can literally feel the outpouring of love, support and arms wrapped tightly around us- it means EVERYTHING to us.

One of my dear friends, Peyton, could write a book on love and generosity.  That's a whole other post in itself, but she decided a way to support my mom and our family would be to send out pink strands of string to family/friends to bind us all together as a way to unify us all.  With ME by your side, YOU are not alone, WE are in this together.  'You, Me, We' wrapped 3x around your left wrist, closest to your heart.  It has been one of the most beautiful and meaningful gestures.  To see my husband, brother, my boys, girlfriends, guy friends, our friends children, and mostly my mom wearing these pink strings warms my heart.  It makes me remember THIS is what life is all about.  This is the silver lining.  Love.  It makes everything okay in the world, and it's what is getting us through.

The pictures below took place in Minnesota days before we found out my mom was sick.  An old friend, Barrett Loving is an amazing photographer.  She emailed me and asked if the boys would be up for taking some pictures. We were so crazy, and leaving the next day.  But for some reason I said yes.  At that point, my mom was not feeling well at all, but didn't want to miss a second with the boys, so she came along anyways.  She looks so incredibly gorgeous in each one of these photos.  Now I realize this happened for a reason.  I will cherish each one of these photos forever with my beautiful mom, Gigi, as the boys named her.  

Barrett Loving Photography

Barrett Loving Photography

‘With ME by my side, YOU are not alone, WE are in this together’
— Peyton Callahan, She Unfurls Her Wings