1. You realize just how strong you can be.
Learning how to put on a happy face is something you just have to do. Nearly everyone you talk to is going to ask you how your mom’s doing and you’ll just have to smile and say, “She’s in really great spirits!” What you really want to say is, “She’s dying. That’s how she’s doing.” However, the true test of your strength comes when spending time with your mom. You know that crying and telling her how terrified you are of loosing her would not only make the situation about yourself, but would just make your mom feel even worse. She’s terrified too, she just loves you too much to show it.
2. Everyone you’ve ever known suddenly wants to “catch up.”
This can be quite frustrating. You know that, of course, they all mean well, but you also know that your mom is nowhere near being able to “catch up” with anybody. A line you’ll become very familiar with is, “She’s really not up for visitors right now, but I’ll let her know you called!” What’s even worse is when people show up unannounced (yes, that happens quite often). Not only are they immediately uninvited, but their visit also forces your mom to muster up the the physical strength that she doesn’t have to make it look like she’s not in as bad a state as she really is. Thank you for caring, but please let us know before you show up.
3. You’ll fit more food into your fridge and freezer than you ever thought you could.
It will feel like everyone and their cousin is dropping off a life’s supply of pasta and/or chicken. You’ll become a master of using up every inch of space in your fridge and freezer. Going out to eat seems like a sin, because you don’t want the avalanche of food in you refrigerator to go to waste. You’ll also consume more food than you’d care to admit but, hey, you earned it. You eat that giant plateful of ziti, and if they were nice enough to also bring some homemade cookies, then hell yes you’re having some of those too.
4. You rarely go out because you can’t imagine passing up on time that you could be spending with her.
Even if spending time with her means just keeping her company while she’s sleeping, it’s still time that you know you soon won’t be able to have. When you do eventually go out with a friend, you have a hard time really being there. Your mind will be preoccupied thinking about how much you miss your mom and how much you wish you were holding her hand. Not that you no longer enjoy being with your friends — they’re the ones that keep you sane throughout this whole ordeal. It’s just that you know you have a lifetime to make great memories with them. Knowing that your time with your mom is running out will make you want to do nothing but lay next to her and cuddle.
5. Roles will switch.
Seeing the strongest women you know break down and ask you to help her with something very simple, like going to the bathroom, is one of the hardest things you will ever experience. What makes it so hard is not the physical act of helping the person you love most in the world with such simple tasks, but seeing how much it kills them to accept the fact that they need the help. You both can deny it all you want, but the truth is that the mother-child roles have been forced to switch. This woman is your best friend, your superman, and someone you believed your whole life to be indestructible. Seeing her break down, and knowing that it is even harder on her than it is on you, makes the moment almost unbearable. Knowing that your mom is feeling any sort of pain or embarrassment makes you feel a hundred times worse. There is nothing in the world you want more than to just take every last unpleasant thing she is feeling and put it on yourself instead of her. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve prayed to any god out there to let me die instead of this amazing woman. But life is unfair, a lesson you will be forced to learn in a very harsh way.
6. You realize there is a bonus: You can never, ever loose hope.
Never. The day you give up is the day it all ends. There will always be good days, and there will always be bad days. The goal is to make the good days so amazing that the bad days will be too scared to present themselves. You can see the truth in all those tacky quotes telling you to live your life to the fullest because you can finally see with your own eyes that there’s so much in life that you have no control over. As hard as it will be, you must always remain positive because positivity is contagious. Walking around feeling sorry for yourself won’t solve anything. Keep your head up, and stand by your mom’s side as she fights the hardest battle she’ll ever face.