Some of you who follow me on Facebook know that I had been acting as my mother’s primary caretaker during her battle with kidney cancer. And like so many challenging moments in life, there are sometimes moments that just stop you in your tracks. I had one of those experiences several months ago.
In the midst of some of the most horrendous health care I’ve ever seen, my mother was finally sent to an Oncologist to see if any treatment could be done for her advanced and aggressive transitional cancer. For those who don’t know what a transitional cancer is, think horrible, nasty and very aggressive and you’ll know all you need to know. Nothing I read about transitional cancers was giving me any hope, and the fact that the cancer had already spread to bone made my heart wrench.
There was that one day though. The day I’ll never forget.
We were sitting in the office with the Oncologist and I asked, ‘what is my mother’s life expectancy?’ The Oncologist said, “In these cases, under a year.” The word under, made it feel imminent.
I looked over at my mother and she looked calm. We finished up with the doctor and went back to the car. We sat in the car for a moment and she looked at me and said, “I want you to always remember something. Life is not for the weak; life is for the strong.”
BOOM! She gets the death sentence and then turns around and gives me words of wisdom. I was stunned and moved, and so proud of her courage in that moment. My tiny Mom being a giant in the face of the news she heard, and strong in the moment for me.
I know that I won’t be emotionally or mentally strong all the time, but those words give me strength. They make me take a deep breath and regroup. They make me feel strong. When I look to take the easy way out, make an excuse, experience any laziness, those words pull me out of my funk.
My mother lost her battle with Kidney cancer on July 28, 2015. But her strength stays with me.
In memory of my mother (Doralba Santana Calzadilla) and in her honor, I have placed her words on every page of my website. I will carry those words with me my entire life.
“Life is not for the weak; life is for the strong.”