An Open Letter to My Mother

By now, Mom, I know you’ve heard about the invader they found in my lymph nodes. I didn’t want to tell you, envisioning the fear and hot panic in your brown eyes, just like I saw it when you spoke of my lost brother Michael. I didn’t want to do that to you.

But, Mom, I have to tell you, so you’ll know that I’ll be alright. There is hope now, and medicines that work – cancer is not just loss and pain and death. I’m getting good care. Family and friends surround me with love and good wishes; their strong energy bouys me on days like today.

I know you’re scared for me, Mom. I am, too. I’m scared of losing my hair. I’m scared of being sick and so tired that it would be nearly effortless to just quit breathing. I’m scared of being alone – like  you were. (We are all alone in death, aren’t we?)

It’s been years since we’ve talked, and I know I was often unkind to you. Your illnesses scared me and made me want to run and hide  – not because I didn’t love you, but because I knew that I couldn’t help you and that knowledge tore me to pieces. It’s taken a long time to heal, and I’m still working on it. I fervently hope that my flight away from your illness did not inform my sons’ behavior toward mine.

Oh, Mom, I wish you were here. I need a hug.


My brother Michael died from melanoma in 1967 when he was 20. I was 7. My mother died in 1992 due to complications from emphysema. She was 65. 

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3 thoughts on “An Open Letter to My Mother

  1. WOW! I was so moved by this post. I have read it to anyone who will listen. You are brave – and I continue to pray for you. Please know that neither Mom nor your brother Mike, were alone as they passed. Love ya!

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  2. Oh my goodness…I just found this. It is beautiful and moving. Tears in my eyes… wish I was there to give you that hug. I have those same fear for you but it is so very different when one is just looking on no matter how much they love you. My thoughts and prayers are with you always and I know you are going to look amazing in the scarfs and head things. But you will probably look amazing without them also. I am so thankful Bruce is by your side to love and hold you as you work your way back to health. All my love. .

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