A Dozen Years – Marking Time Again



Every year when March rolls around, actually, way before March rolls around, I start to wonder how to mark time. What should I do with the anniversary of my mother’s death? Should I do anything? How could I not do something? What do I say? Who do I say it to? (Thank you for being out there, Dear Readers.)

And so, I’m marking time again. This is year twelve.

Twelve years have passed since my mother died from metastatic breast cancer on March 6, 2008. Twelve years. An even dozen.

I got the call telling me she had died while driving back to Minnesota from my home in Wisconsin. You see, I had left her bedside so I could go to my annual physical (she had urged me to go) during which my primary doctor and I discussed, among other things, my next mammogram.

Oh, the irony. Cancer is f***ing cruel.

The last words I whispered in her ear were, wait for me.

But she wasn’t able to wait.

Twelve years feels different. Twelve years is a decent chunk of time.

Life has carried on. My family has carried on. I have carried on. But the void remains.

I still think about my mother every day. I miss her still. Yes, of course, I do. Though I can still clearly picture her face, it makes me sad to admit I struggle now to remember the sound of her voice.

Why didn’t I make more recordings?

Twelve years muddles my memory. But only parts of it are muddled. There is much to remember.

Grief is an ongoing experience. It isn’t something with an expiration date or something you need to get over. My grief doesn’t need fixing. Nor does yours. I grieve still. I always will.

Perhaps you grieve still for someone too.

My grief is one reason why I keep blogging about breast cancer and loss. It’s a way to keep my mother close. It’s a way to honor her. It’s a way to try to honor all the dear ones stolen by this wretched disease. It’s a way to hopefully make a difference, in some small way, to one day help prevent other families from experiencing this particular kind of grief – the kind caused by metastatic breast cancer.

So once again, I mark time by sharing what should be shocking statistics.

And yet, why aren’t more people shocked?

Since my mother died that day in March a dozen years ago, roughly 480,000 more women and men have died from metastatic breast cancer. 480,000 more families, as well as their friends, are missing dear ones too.

In 2020, it’s estimated that 42,000 more will die from MBC. That’s roughly 115 per day.

And those are just US statistics.

Again, why aren’t more people shocked?

Once again, I mark time.

A dozen years.

I remember. Oh yes, I remember.

So many other families remember too.

And #WeWillNotForget.

Featured image above is my mother’s high school or perhaps college graduation photo. We’re not sure which.

A Dozen Years – Marking Time Again 1
Pretty sure this is the last family photo of my siblings, my parents and me (far right). It was taken in November right before my mother’s MBC diagnosis was officially confirmed, hence the worn-down look on our faces.
A Dozen Years. Marking Time. Again. #family #MBC #metastaticbreastcancer #cancer #memories

Happy memories. Oh, the stories in this photo! There’s even one in that purse. Maybe I’ll write about it sometime. Looks like my mother is wearing a referee outfit. She probably needed one heading out with four kids. Can you guess which one is me? (Guess the purse gives it away.)

Tell me who you mark time for.

Why do you think more people aren’t shocked by those stats I mentioned above?

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