When I was a teenager, my cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember my mom getting the call. I had never known anyone with cancer.
My mom made sure my to mention her diagnosis at our next doctor’s appointments. We were all diligent about self-checks. And we stayed connected with Tracy about her treatments.
Tracy was young, in her twenties, and had a very young daughter. I remember hoping and praying to God that she would survive to raise her.
After aggressive treatment, she was in remission. We held our breaths at every follow-up scan and went on a huge family vacation together.
Two years later, it came back. And it spread, attacking her lymph system and eventually her brain.
The last time I saw Tracy, she was at her daughter’s fourth birthday party. She was ragged and had a port in her scalp for the chemo, but all she cared about was her daughter.
She passed away two months later.
Every time I saw her daughter, I vowed that if I ever became a mom, I would be like Tracy. She fought with every breath for her daughter; her love and devotion was overwhelming.
And when my own daughter was born, I began to do the same. Through nursing problems and health issues, I have fought for my daughter. I have tried to be a mom like Tracy was; strong, diligent, and brave.
I think again of Tracy and her spirit. I check in on her daughter, now eleven, and see the lasting effect that Tracy had in the four short years they were together. And I’m grateful that I had an amazing influence to remember as I walk my own path as a mom.