I have written and re-written the words I want to accompany this quote. It was the kind that hit me right in the heart, that resonated so much that I read it over and over again. The kind where you exclaim ‘fuck’ out loud because it rings so true.
I’ve lost count of the amount of times people have senselessly thrown the phrase toward those it doesn’t apply to.
And I found the easiest way to try and get people to understand is to just read my feelings. No jokes, no poetic justice. Just words.
My mum was my best friend. I told her (almost) everything, so much so that my friends would tell me a secret and follow it with, ‘don’t tell anyone, even your mum.’
She knew when people hurt me and she could usually pinpoint who, without me even saying a word. She could see through my facade at 16 years old, when I had begun to think maybe I should keep my feelings away from home. (That lasted all of about 40 minutes after I got off the bus).
She was open about sex, bodies, love and life. She made me feel safe and so, so loved.
She managed to make all five of her children feel the exact same way.
I knew I was lucky to have my mum for as long as I can remember. I counted my lucky stars every day to have her by my side. I knew, I know, what I have and what I had was special.
I was five when she first battled cancer. Some of my earliest, and worst, memories come from the time she spent in hospital – the first time we’d truly been apart – I was in Kindergarten and I would cry at school because I just. Wanted. My mum. Maybe that memory was what created the bond that I don’t have the words to explain.
I was 17 when she was diagnosed again. I still remember where every member of my family was standing in the living room. Minutes before we had been laughing together. Seconds later we were holding each other, ugly crying our faces off, as if bringing our bodies closer together could fix it.
If love alone could have saved you, you never would have died.
For weeks, all I can remember thinking was ‘why us?’ And then, ‘why her?’
Out of all the fucking people in this whole god-damned world. Why her?
I didn’t know anyone less deserving.
She was a ray of light, a sparkle. One of those selfless, ‘every day’ people who made a differences in the lives of those who were lucky enough to meet her. With the most wicked sense of humour and one of those laughs that makes everyone happy to hear.
She was rare. And so beautiful.
She could make you laugh in your darkest moments, and was still making everyone else laugh in hers.
When she was diagnosed, my relationship with her didn’t change. Because it didn’t need to. I didn’t need her to be sick to be able to cherish her. I already did that.
I would listen to people bitch about their parents and all I wanted to do was grab their heads and scream in their faces. YOU DON’T KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE.
The week leading up to it was weird. Because I still knew what I had and how lucky I was to have it. Is this actually happening? Was all I would think. Surely she won’t actually be taken from us? Wasn’t it all just some cruel joke? But I can’t do life without her! I can’t! I don’t know how and I don’t want to!
Some people don’t even encounter a love like that in one lifetime.
It was hard because that’s when everyone else was coming out of the woodworks. The ones who that quote is made for. The ones who didn’t know, or just simply took for granted, what they had in knowing a woman like her.
I was mad. I was so, so mad. I wanted to tell them all to fuck right off, to leave us alone. How dare you steal our last moments? We’ve known what we had all along!
I always knew what I had.
And I know exactly what I have.
Some may warrant my thoughts unfair, uncalled for, selfish, debatable.
But the thing is, the hardest pill to swallow – she didn’t deserve to go so soon, because she didn’t take life for granted. Life had thrown her curveballs that most of us couldn’t even fathom dealing with, let alone living through. She deserved the long, happy, healthy life that so many do take for granted.
We knew that we had a best friend, the most beautiful woman in the world. But she still had her whole life to live. Children, in-laws, grandchildren. Fun, laughter, hope. She was still being taken. There wasn’t one single fucking thing that we could do about it.
But I never took a fucking thing for granted, and she was taken away.
And that, some days, is the hardest reality to face.