[Disclaimer: Yes, today's post is a bit of a downer and deeply personal. Please allow me to indulge.]
Today marks the 19th year since my mother's death from cancer. 19 years. It's such an odd feeling to come to terms with the fact that I have lived longer without my mother than with her. It's an odd feeling to know that I'm just about 2 years shy of the age when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and that my sister is already the age my mother was when she was battling the disease. Furthermore, it's odd to realize that I am at an age when I myself could be a mother; how would I handle things if I was in her position?
I am not the only one I know who lost a parent at an early age. Young relatives of mine lost both mother and father before they barely reached their teens. My heart goes out to them. They are the best kids I know, and I am glad that they have a close family for support. One thing I have never told them, though, is how the loss of a parent remains with you, no matter how old you get. At my happiest moments, there is still an emptiness. I may not always be able to identify the cause, but deep down, I know what it is. Still, it's important to not let it destroy you. Use it to make yourself stronger.
I feel lucky to have known so much love from my mother in such a short amount of time; it has remained with me all these years and influences me even as an adult. So, today, I remember the death but also the life of my mother, and say thank you to all she gave to me.