I’ll See You in the Morning by Michaela B. Rosen

*Tears were shed in the writing of this post* 

“Good night. I love you. Sleep well. Have pleasant dreams and I’ll see you in the morning.” That is what I hear every night from my mom before I go to bed.

Bad things happen to good people. That is something everyone unfortunately learns at some point in his or her life. It is how you react, how you grow, and what you learn from those bad things, which define you as a person. The bad thing in my life is my mom’s cancer diagnosis. In the past five years since her original diagnosis with cancer, I have evolved as a person. I have reacted, grown, and learned.

I keep a lot in. I know my dad and brother do as well. I feel an obligation to be strong. After all, I am not the one going through treatment. Family members of loved ones living with cancer, especially the immediate family, have many emotions and inner struggles they do not reveal. It might be difficult to swallow some of this post, but I ask you to place yourself in my shoes.

I was with my mom when she was diagnosed with cancer. I was fifteen. I remember her calling my dad and telling him, but the rest of that day is a blur. I remember watching TV, but not actually watching TV. I remember my mom saying not to cry yet; we don’t know what stage the cancer is. I remember my mom typing an email to her family, pushing her chair back, looking at me and crying, “I don’t want to go through this.” That was the first time I hugged my mom while she cried about cancer.

My sophomore year of high school was a roller coaster. High school is a roller coaster by itself and adding on my mom being sick was a lot for me to handle.

I sobbed when my dad shaved my mom’s hair. I get my curls from her.

I cried when no one was around. Would my mom see me get my driver’s license? Go to prom? Get accepted to college? Graduate high school? Those questions sent me spiraling into tears.

I pushed friends away. They did not understand what I was dealing with.

I threw myself into my academics. That was one thing my parents did not have to worry about.

 During the years my mom was cancer free, my mom truly became my best friend. We tell each other absolutely everything. We are open with each other. We are honest with each other. We gossip together. During those years, I got my license, went to prom, got into GW, and graduated in the top of my class. And my mom saw it all.

The worst fear of someone whose loved one has cancer is there will be a reoccurrence.

After only a few weeks of moving to DC and attending GW, my mom texted me saying to call her. My mom took a deep breath and told me the cancer returned. I felt my entire eighteen-year-old body crumble as I sank to the floor. I started crying. I was in shock. I asked what stage the cancer was; she said stage IV. I knew what stage IV meant… no cure with an average life expectancy of 26 months. I was sobbing. I heard my dad telling me it would be ok, I did not need to come home, and he would take of my mom. I wanted to be home so bad. My mom was always on mind. I learned the best place to cry in college is in the shower, or when your roommate(s) are not in the room or sleeping. My emotions were all over the place. I cried that my mom might not see me graduate, she probably will not see me get married, and she probably will not spoil her grandchildren at Disney World.

My freshman year I truly reacted, grew, and learned from a really bad thing.

This last year, my sophomore year, I was in a great place. Academically I was excelling, I had amazing internships, and I ran around DC with my incredible friends. They make me laugh and smile, but also know I have my days. Even when I cannot explain what I am going through, they still love me through it all. They are my shoulders to cry on. And those tears keep on coming. I still worry. I still cry. I call my mom a lot while at school and if it is not a call, it is a text. Like I said before, my mom is my best friend and I cannot imagine a day where I cannot talk to her.

As much as I would love to have stayed in DC this summer or have gone to New York for an internship, I am content being home with my mom. Sometimes I feel like a mom. Driving my mom to Dana-Farber or just to run errands, picking my brother up at school, getting lunch together for my mom, or hugging my mom when she cries; simply put, being a caregiver. Time with my mom is precious. I enjoy just sitting on the couch a foot away from her while she sleeps (exhausted from the chemo). Some mornings I climb into bed with my mom and Wally and we just talk. When my mom feels well we both enjoy a little retail therapy. I have learned to enjoy the little things with my mom. (The big things, like our upcoming vacation, do not hurt either!)

During the moments when reality hits, it really hurts. My mom is going to die from this disease and we do not know how much time she has. Her last treatment stopped working and she is back on chemotherapy. My family does not know how she will respond this time or if it is going to work. I am doing my best to be there for my dad and brother. When people ask me how I am doing, I shrug and say fine, but truthfully I am scared and I hate how this is happening to my family.

I get sad when I think of planning my wedding or raising children without my own mom. Reality hurts. The silver linings help. I get to have the strongest relationship with my mom, we get to travel together, and we say I love you a little more. I get to promise her everyone will celebrate her life. We really do live, laugh, and love everyday.

Every night I get to say, “Good night” and “I love you” to my mom. To which she responds, “Good night. I love you. Sleep well. Have pleasant dreams and I’ll see you in the morning.”

I cannot imagine a night where we cannot say, “I love you” or a morning when I wake up and my mom does not.

  

 

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14 thoughts on “I’ll See You in the Morning by Michaela B. Rosen

  1. I have so much to say, yet, I’m still just absorbing all you said, Michaela. Cancer was a reality with my family, and I can relate to so much you have said. You are wise beyond your years, as well as strong! You are not afraid to admit your fears when it comes to this relentlessly, brutal disease, and that is so important, I think…it makes you that much stronger! You are young, but certainly have your priorities straight, and you put your family first, above anything else. Managing to excel in school and being top of your class with all your family is going through…WOW…that shows just what you are made of…you have your mom’s strength, grace, and beauty. Keep doing what you’re doing….making these beautiful memories..the “good nights” and “I love you’s” you will keep in your heart forever and even when your mom is just a memory, you’ll one day be able to smile, looking back! Please know that your family is in my thoughts, not just as I type this, but each and every day! Praying that your mom has plenty more time with all of you, but when that day does come, she is going to live on, through each and every one of you…the love is there, and that will never die!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ROSEN strong…always and forever!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Michaela, this is brutally honest and beautifully written. While all you and your family are experiencing is absolutely terrible, you are blessed with the ability to value each and every moment you have together, be it sharing the sofa on an ordinary afternoon or a cruise over the summer. Every memory will be what you carry with you through life and what you share with your own children one day. Even if your children never get to meet your mother, they will know her through the mom you will have learned to be and the memories you share with them, I also believe that your mom will be with you all along the way, just not how any of you want, unfortunately. Having watched my own mom go through a diagnosis with lung dancer just 3 1/2 years ago, I can understand all you are feeling right now. You are a brave young lady and I know how proud your parents are of both you and Max. Continue to pursue your dreams and cherish every moment with your family. We all should, as life is too short for all of us. Know that we are all learning from all of you about what really matters in life- family and love.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That was beautiful! My mom has stage 3 lung cancer and right now we’re in a time of waiting three months after being told the tumor has shrunk. Another CT scan will be done. Cancer is relentless. I’ve cried a lot. My parent’s will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in a few weeks, I’m thankful to be able to see them celebrate this milestone and celebrate life. Michaela, you and your mom are touching a lot of lives-what you are going through is not in vain. I’m praying for you, Susan, you truly are an inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! I’m speechless. She had me crying through out reading the whole story. I can feel her emotions through the screen. Your daughter is such an incredible person just like you are! God bless you and your family. Yall are always in my prayers!

    Ian

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Michaela I send you love and hugs !!! You are always welcomed at our house if you need to shed some tears or just to talk !!!! I hear how hard this is for you and your family

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Michaela, such a beautiful heart-felt post. Thank you for sharing. I know this is difficult, I lost my mom to lung cancer weeks after she was diagnosed. Even though it was 15 years ago, it still hurts. At times when I miss my mom, I realize while her body is not still with me, her soul is. I can hear every word she would say and even the faces she would make (if she saw some hair color choices I’ve made!). Having made that special bond with your mom will help you – she’ll always be a part of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mikayla: You are truly amazing as your Mom! Your Mom and I went to High School together. I too am fighting Stage IV Ovarian Cancer and have a 23 year old daughter Brianna. I cry sometimes too thinking about the same worries you have. Live each day to the fullest and enjoy every moment making memories as I am sure you do! Life is a precious gift taken for granted by so many who have not walked in our shoes. Enjoy your summer 🙂

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  8. Absolutely beautiful, but heartbreaking. You get more than those curls from your mom. You clearly get her strength and courage.

    I am also a “Lifer” but even though my daughter (and only child) was 5 when I was diagnosed, I got to see her become a wife and mother. She is 31 and my biggest fear is not the treatments, or even the diagnosis – it’s the thought of leaving her. It’s too easy to simply say “life is not fair.” All I can really say is “cancer sucks!” It sucks to have it, get treated for it, think about it and worry about it. What sucks the most, however, is knowing what my daughter has lived with most of her life – the fear of losing her mom.

    Michaela – you are wise beyond your years. Reading your thoughts have helped me because it’s not always easy to talk to my daughter about our reality. Like you, however, she knows and understands that reality. You have put into words what most daughters cannot and I thank you. Like your mom – your are an amazing woman!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Michaela and Susan,

    This post is so poignant and so beautiful. As is the photo! The love you have for each other most definitely shines through. Thank you to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hugs to you Michela,your Mom, my school friend and your family, Max and Mark, Love you all and I know this time wih your Mom is very special to both of you. As always, you are all in my thoughts and prayers ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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