It comes and goes in waves & honestly I have no idea why it effects me still. Part of me knows it shouldn’t, but the other part of me knows it always will. Things are about to get real honest, real fast, so bare with me. I miss my mom. I’d do anything to hear her voice and feel her hug just one more time. I know that God had a reason for taking her home when He did, I fully believe that, but sometimes it just sucks. Sometimes I wish that things were different and I know that’s horrible and wrong, but it’s true. Even though sometimes it crushes me that she’s not here, my mom is and always will be my biggest motivation. She’s my inspiration and I look up to her in countless different ways. I’m beyond thankful that even though she’s gone, her story remains. Even though she can’t physically be here, she has made an impact on myself and many others on more than one occasion. I’m so proud of my mom and I strive to be even half the person she was.
The day my mom found out she was pregnant with her and my dad’s third child was the same day she found out she had advanced breast cancer. The doctors’ advice: terminate the pregnancy (aka get an abortion), have a radical mastectomy and undergo extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments immediately. They told her that if she wouldn’t get an abortion, they couldn’t go on with the radical chemotherapy and she would have absolutely no hope of survival. Even with that reality, she refused to undergo the cancer treatments. My mom’s response to the doctors’ recommendation was to pray. Wow.
In an article published in “Star News”, Charmaine Barranco quotes my dad when he says, “It took her two or three days to build up the courage, but she prayed to God, ‘God, if You want to take this baby, then You take it through a miscarriage.’ It was very difficult for her to pray that, because she took prayer very seriously. And that came from her heart. I didn’t suggest it.”
God didn’t decide to take that baby through a miscarriage, and my mom never went through with the treatment recommended by the doctors. Instead, Erika came into the world on July 8, 1995..with no complications. In fact, she was the healthiest baby between my brother and me due to my mom trying to do everything she could by fighting the cancer naturally. Even though her and my dad tried their best to beat the disease, God had different plans, and my mom passed away December 1 of that same year. Andrew was four, I was two, and Erika was six months.
I couldn’t tell you why my mom had to go through all that pain-emotionally & physically. I wish it could have at least been quick and painless for her sake. I have no stinking idea why my two year old self had to experience such a confusing and traumatic thing. Or why the entire family had to, honestly. I. don’t. know. But what I do know is this..
I KNOW that God doesn’t make mistakes.
I KNOW that God has a reason for everything.
I KNOW that God knows much more than I do.
I KNOW that my mom is in a much better place now.
And that is enough.
Would I like to know more? Yes. Do I wish God would answer me when I quietly ask Him, ‘Why?’ Yes. But since I can’t know more than I already do and since God hasn’t given me a “satisfying” answer, all I can do is choose to share my mom’s story, my family’s story, to the world.
All I know is that my mom was the most selfless mother, courageous cancer-fighter, loving wife, devoted Christ-follower, & compassionate friend I have ever known.
I think it’s crazy awesome when my mom’s close friends or my family members look at me in amazement at how similar I am to her. They tell me I’m a mirror image of her- my body language, facial expressions, mannerisms..all those things.. are so similar to her and I absolutely LOVE that. For me those things are like little pieces of her that God has allowed for me to keep and that is so special and dear to my heart.
If my mom chose to go through with treatment and, therefore, have an abortion, then I wouldn’t have Erika in my life. I wouldn’t have my partner in crime, my closest/dearest friend, my absolutely beautiful little sister. And without her, my world just wouldn’t be the same. She is everything that I am not. She really is. She brings out the best in me. We complete each other. And no, that’s not just something couples get to say. As strange and heartless as this probably sounds.. I’m so thankful to my mom for choosing Erika over herself. I can’t imagine how scary of a thing that would be, but I love her for it. My mom chose to do the right thing, and because of that God blessed our family with Erika. And that’s something I can treasure and look up to.