As I stared down and admired her deeply sunken handprints in the sand, I suddenly realized that this would be the last impression my mother would ever make on me. Never had I tried to predict the way we’d all say our goodbyes. From the start, my family never took the time to plan ahead, always embracing each moment we shared together like it was our last. I guess I always just convinced myself that I’d die before they would, so I wouldn’t have to suffer the pain of losing them. I never pictured that at ten years old I’d not only have to say goodbye to my mother, but have to helplessly watch her wither away like quick sand. My sister, Lindsay was fifteen at the time. Till the day we said our final goodbyes, the three of us were the greatest of friends. We laughed, we played, we joked, but never did we think we’d cry together like we had that summer evening.
What started out to be my favorite day that year, turned out to be my most memorable one of all. It was my 10th birthday, July 17 1998. The one thing that I never expected to find was that with all the pain and grief I experienced that day, it still isn’t the day I now can say changed my life forever. That day was five years prior, February 9,1993. That was the day mom told us she had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. And there my life went, quickly spiraling down the drain.