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My struggle.

I slid into bed once more wondering if it would be the very last time. If I would no longer have more precious time with family and friends. Tears streamed down my face as I had thought of how I might not see their faces again. I constantly wondered if it might be the end for me. Would it happen in sleep? Would it hurt? Could they be wrong?

Three years earlier I had asked and prayed for that very thing to be right. I wanted everyone to be wrong. I wanted them to admit mistake. I believed I had no reason to be sentenced to that. I didn't want to die and I was afraid. I realized then, as my time there dwindled, no one like me wanted to leave everything they had ever loved.

Countless hours of chemo and radiation reeked havoc on my thin body. The loss of my hair forced me to wear a wig everywhere. After beginning the fight with the monster that was eating me alive, I still had not told my kids. I was afraid of their much awaited reaction. I most defiantly did not want them to worry about me. I was greatly driven to beat that disease, it was unreal. But as life began to slowly loosen from my weakening grip, I realized I couldn't leave my kids with questions for my family to answer. I had to tell them I was sick.

Days past and I had thought of millions of ways to try and tell my kids. They were both too young to understand Cancer and how it infected my body. Or so I thought. I strived to think of the easiest ways to let them know I was dying. Doctors told me I had one month to live and as I had counted down the days, I came to notice Christmas was in the week of my predicted death. There was no way I could leave my kids motherless on Christmas. Sure my husband was there caring for our children while I spent hours in the hospital. He kept me strong when I wanted nothing more than to leave forever and shut the pain out. Our parents respected every decision we made with the situation and I thanked them for that. They helped us with the kids too whenever we needed to make a trip to the hospital. We always tried our best to keep them oblivious to what was about to happen in our once peaceful household.

I spent nights crying on my husband's shoulder wondering still how to tell them. He suggested to sit down and explain to them just how serious things were. I was also supposed to tell them how I will not be there to see their prom, teach them to drive, and help them with boyfriend troubles. I had told my husband time and time again that I didn't want to tell them and I was afraid I would break their fragile hearts. But as time inched closer and I grew weaker, I realized it was the best way. If I had left them without answers, they wouldn't have understood. They might have hated me for not telling them and I couldn't live with that.

One cold December night, when the snow was gently falling, I sat down with my two kids. At first, shock streaked their faces as a big tidal wave of uncertainty washed over. As I comforted and reassured, we cried. I was relieved they finally understood why mommy was never home to tuck them in, play their favorite board games, or make them meals. Our whole family then was gathered in front of our glowing fireplace with nothing to hide that night.

That night was the very last time I slid into bed and the very last time I ever seen my two beautiful children and life-long companion at my side. As I had asked when my journey began fighting the very thing that killed me, death did not hurt. It was more an escape from the pain, worries, and doubt my life had been consumed by the past few months. I had spent my last few hours cuddled next to the one I love, sleeping sound. As I look back now, I am at peace with my life and I now have left the world I once was too afraid to leave.



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