It was just like any normal morning in our household, the sound of faint chirping birds and the golden rays of sunshine. My mother dropped my brother off to the bus stop and waved goodbye as he hopped on the “little bus”. “Let’s go, were going to be late!” she exclaimed as my three-year-old self was slowly getting dressed “Coming, Mommy!” I yelled backMy mother had her yearly doctor’s appointment check-up this morning. My father and I hopped in the car and he drove off to the doctor’s office quickly. As I sat impatiently in the doctor’s office, my mom allowed me to watch my favorite show, Dora the Explora on her phone. “Stay in the waiting room, do not go anywhere, I won’t be too long” my mom instructed me.I noticed the colorful sunset paintings on the wall, each depicting a unique piece of scenery. I swang my feet impatiently, watching Dora, my feet did not even touch the ground. Soon, those minutes turned into hours and those hours turned into days. It felt like I was waiting there forever. I continued to wait as my mother instructed me to.Within a matter of minutes, my parents came back with the news that would forever change the outlook of my life, which I learned much later on. I vividly remember noticing my mom’s gut-wrenching sobs that tore through her chest. Her eyes bled with pain. A great sob escaped her, and she covered her face with her hands. The sound of wailing and suffering echoed throughout the entire doctor’s office. “Mama, what happened, why are you crying?”, I questioned her, confused the emotions she portrayed“Nothing to worry about, just a little sick.” She responded to my three-year-old self as she gave me the tightest hug and a kiss on my cheek.As I matured and grew a better understanding of the situation, I came to realize that my mother had not told me what actually happened during my childhood. This was caused by the innocence I portrayed during this time period. She did not want to overbear or worry me in any way. She did not want me to lose my innocence at such a young age. As I soon matured, I learned my mother’s gut-wrenching sobs were due to the fact that she knew she was not going to be alive for much longer. During the physical exam, the doctors found an abnormal lump in her breast, and after a few quick tests, they had diagnosed her with stage four breast cancer. The tears that raced down her cheeks was her reaction to this news. The idea that my father would have to raise us as a single parent, the fact that she would not be able to be there for us forever. This idea haunted her until her last days. This idea gave her the motivation to fight through chemotherapy valiantly for the next four years, valiantly. My mother was a fighter. After the day my mom was diagnosed with cancer, our lives were completely changed. Her once heavenly bedroom became a hospital room. My mother’s health was constantly a rollercoaster of symptoms and emotions for everyone. She was always in and out of the hospitals due to the strong side effects of her chemotherapy. Specifically, every heart on the street skipped a beat as the ambulance weaved through traffic, flashing red and blue lights came with aggressive speed and the screeching tires were echoed throughout the entire neighborhood. For those few moments, I felt my heart drop within a matter of seconds. I remember being confused at why the ambulance was taking my mother away from me, I would not see her for days after this. However, I would be instructed by my father to quickly run upstairs with my older brother into the guest bedroom. “Bhaiya what is going on? Why are they taking mommy away?” I would question my brother “She’s really sick, she going to the hospital” he would respond “Ho-st-ik-ul? What’s that? I would respond “Don’t worry about it. She is going to be fine” my brother responded We would continue on with our childhood lives, ignoring all the hecticness going on downstairs. My brother and I would play our favorite game, 4 in a row together. As a young child, my heart raced every time we visited my mother in the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. I just wanted someone to save my mother, my worst nightmare was losing her. The whole experience was traumatizing for me as a three-year-old. I gripped onto my father’s hand to the point where his hands became sweaty. I remember seeing my mother lying in the hospital bed. She was always surrounded by doctors and nurses, who always ensured she was up to date with all of her medications. They also checked her blood levels and were constantly attaching different IVs, heart monitors, and oxygen tanks to her. I was not able to recognize her due to all of the hair she had lost from chemotherapy. Instead of her beautiful, lucious, long hair, she would be wearing a cap instead. Slowly, she started losing her eyelashes and eyebrows too. My mom’s health progressively had gotten worse from this point on. Her chemotherapy was no longer effective. Her liver failed. She suffered multiple brain tumors. She already had one of her breasts removed. The high cocktails of medicine had her unconscious all of the time. Cancer had already spread to her entire body. At this point in her battle, she was put onto life support. Since I was too young to be around the hospital all of the time, I was with my grandmother during my mother’s last moments. From the waiting room of the hospital, my father described to me how he slowly heard the insistent beeping of my mom’s heart monitor machine. Her eyes were closed, she was barely breathing. My dad kept praying everything would be alright. Slowly, the breathing stopped and my father witnessed the green line slowly extending off of the monitor, my mother passed away on July 13th, 2009. Right after this, my father came rushing home to my brother and I to deliever this horrendous news. I remember him bringing us to his bedroom, sitting us down and telling us. “I know the both of you are very strong kids, you know how your mom was very sick and was in the hopsital for the past couple of weeks” We both nodded our heads, yes “Beta, I am sorry”… his voice cracked…. “She passed away” For a moment, it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. I felt an utter feeling of shock. I could not believe the words that just came out of my father’s mouth. The tears burst forward like water from a dam, spilling down my face for the next few hours. My brother and I sobbed into my father’s chest, hands clutching his pockets. The pain came in waves, minutes of sobbing, ripping through my guts, and broken apart by short pauses for recovering breathes, before hurling back into his arms, mourning the grief of our mother. Brick by brick, I felt the walls come tumbling down all of a sudden. I felt as if my life crumbled in my fingertips. My father hugged us tightly, reassuring us everything is going to be okay.
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