Losing my mom to cancer
A true story of losing a mom to cancer- how one daughter coped with loss and grief after caring for her terminally ill mom.
“Losing My Mom to Cancer: Cherished moments of laughter and love, forever imprinted in the sands of time.” | Photo credit: ©Stockgiu / Adobe Stock
Losing my mom to cancer
Facing my trauma: what is was like losing my mom to cancer
My parents’ deaths from cancer were not a surprise. I became very good at hiding my pain, and without someone to share it with, my traumatic grief would have destroyed me. Losing a mom to cancer is a pain that has never left me. This is my true story of how I coped with their deaths.
The relentless hand of cancer took away my parents. But while both losses were crushing, losing my mom to cancer was a trauma that lingered long after her last breath. As I tried to navigate the murky waters of grief, I came to understand the unique pain of losing a mom to cancer and the profound mark it left on me.
Losing both my parents to cancer came in two distinct phases. My father's battle with liver cancer ended when I was a mere 15-year-old. It was painful but somewhat cushioned by the surroundings – a top-notch hospital, our family by his side, and his unyielding calmness. Even though waves of loneliness sometimes crash over me, I've found a semblance of peace with his passing.
However, the ordeal of losing mom to cancer was a far more tumultuous journey. Our financial challenges became amplified when she fell ill, and accessing treatments became an uphill battle. I, still wet behind the ears at 20, alongside a few relatives, became her caregiver. I wasn’t just bearing witness to her decline and ultimate death to cancer; I was living it alongside her. The experience of losing mom to cancer was intense, the kind of intenseness that engraves scars deep within the psyche.
"The experience of losing mom to cancer was intense, the kind of intenseness that engraves scars deep within the psyche."
Losing my mom to cancer changed everything
Following her death from cancer, I grappled with an overwhelming grief that seemed to strangle me tighter each day. Having lost both parents to cancer by the age of 20, it felt like the universe had stripped me of my anchors. Yet, I tried to convince myself this emotional turmoil was the expected aftermath of such loss. But inside, an intense ache persisted. And despite our shared loss, my older brother Charles and I struggled to bridge the chasm that separated our grieving processes.
In an attempt to process the trauma of losing my mom to cancer, emotions sometimes bubbled over in unexpected ways. A visit to Charles' home, years after her passing, became a testament to this. Memories of our former home – lost to the bank after our father’s demise – had already made me emotional. But my frustrations found an unintended target in Charles.
“I wanted to go there in my new car, sort of to tell mom and dad that I’m doing better now,” I began, tears blurring my vision. However, my raw emotions soon took a contentious and confrontational turn. “What about you, Charles? You were away in the seminary and missed her last moments, only to marry later. What was it all for?”
My hurtful spiteful words hung in the air, instantly thick with remorse. I had wounded him, and the regret and guilt weighed heavily on my heart. Yet, it wasn't just about Charles. This moment was a symptom of a deeper issue: the unresolved trauma of losing mom to cancer. My inability to cope with my own grief.
Navigating the long term impact of grief after losing my mom to cancer
Years later, my trauma and unresolved grief manifested in unexpected ways. Oddly enough, oatmeal became my nemesis. That simple breakfast staple was a cruel reminder of my mother's final days. The mere sight of it sent shivers down my spine. But this irrational aversion underscored my unresolved pain, and my unhealed emotional wounds.
To heal, I needed to confront my trauma head-on. My partner, Arbie, became my anchor during this period. Slowly, patiently, he lent me an ear as I unraveled my pain layer by layer. Sharing stories of my mom, especially the ones from her final days dying of cancer, allowed me to face the agony and latent grief head-on. These uncomfortable conversations, punctuated by tears and moments of silence, became my therapy.
One day, amidst the routine of a shared breakfast, Arbie pointed out something that took me by surprise. “You’re eating oatmeal,” he observed, his voice a mix of surprise and pride.
Looking at that half-eaten bowl of oatmeal on the table, I felt the leaden weight of my grief lighten just a bit. In that simple act, there was healing. I realized that the scars of losing my mom to cancer would always be a part of me. But with time, support, and understanding, they wouldn’t define me.
If you've endured the heartache of losing a mom to cancer, know you're not alone. The healing journey is long and unique to each individual, but sharing our stories can pave a path toward understanding and recovery.
Cha Miñoza is a freelance writer, adult ballerina and devoted furmom to two spoiled dogs. When she is not busy with creative pursuits and lazy wonderings, she spends her time looking up at the night sky, trying to make contact with her home planet Pluto.