Thursday, July 7, 2011


WARSAW, INDIANA - She was 10 years old when I picked her up early from school that day, and she had no idea why. She jumped in the car and said "Where are we going, mama?" and smiled with her whole face. Nowhere, honey, I just have something to tell you. And it was the something I never wanted to tell her. In the long list of things I've had to tell her that are difficult, that I can't explain, that I hate hearing come out of my mouth, this one is really high up on that list.

I told her I had cancer. She was little, but she knew full well what that meant. She didn't have a grandma because of cancer; we did all of those walks, those runs, those activities to help put a stop to it. But we didn't stop it before I had to tell her those words. How do you explain to a 5th grader that we might be ok, including the baby inside me? How do you tell a 5th grader who's eyes just say "Don't leave me, mama!" but her shaky little voice says "What do we do now?"

She beat you, cancer. Even though she didn't have it herself, like anyone in a family that has this disease, she fought it just as much. She came through it as she always does - like a shining star. She has spoken at events to keep fighting you, she has been to cancer centers across this whole country and isn't afraid to hug every single patient she sees. She turns 17 today, and I am ferociously proud of her. And will be for as long as I get to live on this earth - and even beyond that. Happy birthday, my angel.

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