My mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was in my teenage years so, both of my parents tried their best to protect me from the unfortunate news. At first, the cancer went in to remission though, my mother had to have both of her breasts removed. The chemotherapy treatments took her hair so, she wore wigs until it grew back. She was always positive and really had hoped she had survived the cancer. We all did, truthfully. The year 2009 proved her wrong and our worse fears returned with a vengeance. I had been laid off from my job that April so, I was fortunate enough to stay home and help care for my mother along. She took some much needed time off from work. Though, there were many days were I drove her upon request so she could work a few hours each day. She called it “Driving Ms. Daisy.” My mother always did have a sense of humor. Her days of chemo treatment usually followed a week of having to stay in the hospital since it did a number on her. The hospital’s staff were always top notch and very compassionate. I do not know when, or really if, the decision was made to stop the treatments because the cancer was “winning,” but it was that summer than mom came home to stay with professional assistance from the hospice staff. Oxygen machine, hospital style bed in the living room, morphine drip for pain, etc. became a reality for the home life. During her time, she would watch “Law & Order”, play Scrabble on my first Dell laptop I had given her, play with the cats, etc. I remember my father and I taking her to Colonial Williamsburg. She worked for the college back in the late 1990s as a human resources director. She wanted to go to one of my favorite places which was a hobby shop called “Debby’s R/C World.” She was strong, probably the strongest person I knew. I stayed up most nights in the living room watching her sleep. I usually only slept when the morning nurse would come to do her duties and relief me for a couple of hours. My dad and I would take turns on the weekends since he was still working while I was unemployed. My mom passed away on a cool, but sunny Thursday shortly after 2:00PM EST at the end of October. My father, my brother from California, and myself had stepped outside for about ten minutes and she took the opportunity to complete her journey to Heaven. During the following year, my father advised me to use some of my mother’s life insurance money to go back to school. We had talked about that on and off for the past seven years or so, but money was the hold back. So, I did that year, for her, for me. I still find myself thinking of her with tears in my eyes. Partially because I know I won’t see her again in this life as much as I’d love to, but happy to know that she’s not in this pain. She never complained, but I can only imagine there wasn’t much comfort. And happy that she was the best mom for me and a great person that many people had the honor of knowing. You never truly realize your own strengths and determination until you’re faced with the unimaginable. Just because you may have been diagnosed with a “bad hand,” doesn’t mean that it’s over. Keep your head up and keep fighting. Life is much more than just cancer. You may have cancer, but cancer doesn’t have YOU. Even though, my mom has passed away (ten years this October), I’m still hoping for a cure one day.