Growing up, my mother and I were best friends. I couldn’t spend enough time with her. Each day after school I’d help her out with little jobs for her work and at weekends we would go shopping or have Friday nights in eating pizza and watching rubbish TV. I’m not sure if secondary school made time pass really quickly, or I’ve just been a bit busy growing up but lately I’ve realised I don’t spend half as much time talking to, or with my mum anymore. Which is probably perfectly normal for a 23 year old. I’m in a relationship, I work, drive and have friends which I frequently visit out of town – none of which were issues when I was a child.
When I was 16, my mum got breast cancer and became very ill. I didn’t really know how to deal with the situation and got in with a group of friends that, when I look back, weren’t good for me. I left sixth form at 17, learnt how to drive, got a car and became more independent, which meant I spent less time at home. I probably put added stress on her but at the time I was too selfish to realise.
Still, as friends came and went, relationships were up and down and my finances were that of an irresponsible teenager, my mum was there to help me. No matter what I did, how I needed help, what problems or troubles I had gotten myself into, my mum would support me and point me in the right direction of how to fix things. Luckily, having the strength that she does, she beat breast cancer. She took it in her stride and dealt with it, all the while still being the beautiful, selfless and strong woman that she is.
It’s only now, several years later and old enough to truly comprehend how serious cancer is and how much I rely on my mum that I can say how lucky I am to have her and how much I love and look up to her. I’m 23 now and can certainly say that if I can grow to be half the woman she is, with half the strength, compassion and patience that she has, I’ll know that I’ve done her proud.
She’s still my best friend.
She’s still the woman I aspire to be.