Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

This photo is hard for me to share.

It was taken eight years ago on my mom’s birthday. She was sleeping peacefully, and I was just snuggled up next to her, holding her hand, and keeping her company as she prepared to leave this earthly world for something bigger.

March 16th will mark the eighth anniversary of her losing her short but fierce and courageous battle with colorectal cancer.

Eight years.

It has been eight whole years since I held those soft and gentle hands, heard her voice, or looked upon her beautiful face.

RELATED: I’m Still Supposed to Have My Mom

In eight years, I have cried, laughed, and cried again more times than I can count.

In eight years, I have felt the most joyful highs and the darkest, ugliest lows.

In eight years, I have missed her every single day.

In eight years, I brought her first granddaughter into this world, I’ve watched both of my children grow into the most incredible little humans and have witnessed the true strength and power of love.

In eight years, I have found new passions and moved away from my hometown. I have spoken up, spoken out, and have learned to hold those I treasure so close.

In eight years, I have tried to continuously see the beauty in everything, live in the moment, and be grateful for the little things as well as the big things.

Every. Single. Day.

In eight years, I’ve learned I am blessed beyond measure, and although she is no longer here with me, my mom continues to teach and guide me daily. Her love was a giftone that will never leave me, no matter how much time passes.

RELATED: Did My Mom Know How Much I Loved Her?

In eight years, I have shared her story over and over and over again in the hopes someone else won’t have to miss their loved one the way I miss her. In the hopes other children, like my son and my daughter, won’t have to live their lives without ever knowing or being encompassed by the incredible love of my mother, their nana.

Her story is simple. Like so many of us, she simply put off getting her colonoscopy.

She didn’t know how important it was, was unaware of the statistics surrounding colorectal cancer screening, didn’t realize it would most likely save her life. By the time she did get screened for the very first time, she was 58 years old, already having symptoms, and was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer.

She passed away just eight short months later.

Colorectal cancer continues to be the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death for men and women in the United States, yet it is one of the most preventable and treatable types of cancer as long as you are screened. If caught early through regular screening, colorectal cancer has a 90% cure rate. When it comes to colorectal cancer, screening saves lives. (For this and more information visit Colon and Rectal Cancer Alliance.)

March is colorectal cancer awareness month. It is also my mom’s birthday month and happens to be the month in which she lost her short battle with colorectal cancer. Needless to say, March holds a lot of big feelings for me.

So, in her memory and in honor of all of those fighting this disease, I make this simple plea.

I beg of you, each and every one of you: if you or someone you love has been putting off getting screened for colon cancer, please stop.

If you are trying to convince someone you love to get screened, don’t give up on them. Share the statistics, share my mom’s story, tell them how important it is.

Get screened . . . it could truly save your life.

For more information on colorectal cancer risk factors, screening, prevention, or support, check out the Colorectal Cancer Alliance website.

Losing a parent is a unique pain. Healing after the Loss of Your Mother is a heartfelt guide for those mourning the loss of their mother, as well as the loved ones helping them through their grief.

Recommendations in this post contain affiliate links. Her View From Home may receive a small commission if you choose to purchase.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Tess Fraser

Tess Fraser is an aspiring author, lover of yoga and wine, colorectal cancer advocate, and a motherless daughter. She works in non-profit development and writes about the importance of self-care in her spare time on her blog, www.selfcarepause.com. She lives in Ithaca, NY with her husband and two children.

Please Don’t Let My Baby Die

In: Cancer, Motherhood
Toddler boy lying in hospital bed, color photo

I wasn’t made for this.  I am not strong enough. Lord, where are you taking me? Why does this joyful time, filled with our last baby’s firsts, have to be this way? Why did the doctors look at me that way? They know what’s coming, and deep down inside, so do I. The inevitable word that is about to come out of their mouths.  The C-word.  Cancer. It’s life-changing.  Almost as if it were a car accident. Believe me, I know about that. To be the reason behind a grown man hanging onto a thread. Completely unintentional. I just needed...

Keep Reading

The Art of Showing Up

In: Cancer, Kids
Dad hugging young son

As a father of four boys, you may imagine that life is hectic from time to time for me.  While it truly is, in fact, quite crazy sometimes, it isn’t always because of the reasons you might think.  I have four boys, ages 11, 4, 3, and almost 2, and that certainly makes for an interesting daily living experience for my wife and me.  We do our best to remain patient and lean on God’s strength and peace to fill us on the days that seem overly daunting and occasionally even downright impossible, but we are human.  Therefore, we fail...

Keep Reading

No One Prepares You for When Your Husband Has Cancer

In: Baby, Cancer, Marriage
Family sitting by window

No one ever prepares you for the moment you hear your spouse has cancer.   More so, no one prepares for you to hear this when you have a 5-month-old at home. “Mom, they said the tumor is cancerous, and they need to enucleate his eye on Thursday,” I say quietly into the phone as I pump in a dirty bathroom stall at the eye hospital.   Whir. Whir. Whir. Whir. Gosh, I hate pumping.  Today is my first day being away from my daughter. My mom is watching her while I made the trip to the eye hospital with...

Keep Reading

l Will Never Stop Missing My Sister

In: Cancer, Grief, Loss
Woman in red shirt

It might be 16 years too late to properly depict the depressive senses that engulfed my whole being when I lost my only sister Aurora to colon cancer in 2006. Painful flashbacks continue to fill my everyday life at the most inopportune moments that  writing about it might somehow alleviate my grief. I remember getting that random phone call from her one sunny day in September 2006 and how guilt automatically hit me. It had been a while since I last saw her. “It’s positive,” she said. Backed with years of joking around and playing tricks on her since childhood,...

Keep Reading

Having Cancer at 34 Taught Me How to Live

In: Cancer
Husband and wife on boat, color photo

This picture came up in my Facebook memories today. It took my breath away for a moment, just like it has for nine years now. It was the last picture taken of me before my midwife found the lump and my life changed forever.  The first time I saw that photo, I realized I didn’t know that woman anymore. She was naive. Laying there in the sun without any inkling that a cancer was growing inside her. Look at her—unafraid and without anxiety. Less than 48 hours later, she would be gone, replaced by someone who was afraid of each...

Keep Reading

How Grateful I Am for a Mother Who Believed in Me

In: Cancer, Grief
Mother and grown daughter, color photo

It was a hot summer day sometime in the middle of high school. I was young and naive, but the ugly six-letter word was looming over our family: cancer. Although I didn’t know it then, this would be our last normal summer before my mother’s health would worsen. Cancer would give way to terminal cancer. It’s funny how something so big can seem so small in those moments. My mom and I were sitting on our back porch, encased in a narrow hedge of yew bushes. It was a yellow, lazy Saturday, and my brothers and father were at Cub...

Keep Reading

A Medical Diagnosis Challenges a Marriage

In: Cancer, Living, Marriage
Bald woman holding clippers over husband's head, color photo

It is no secret now that Albert Pujols and his wife have announced their divorce shortly after she had surgery to remove a brain tumor. As a breast cancer survivor, this news hit me in a special way. As I was reading through an article from Today, there was a quote that hit me hard, “But a marriage falling apart is far more common when the wife is the patient, researchers have found. A woman is six times more likely to be separated or divorced soon after a diagnosis of cancer or multiple sclerosis than if a man in the relationship is...

Keep Reading

When You’re Barely Hanging On, It’s OK to Ask For Help

In: Cancer, Living, Motherhood
Worn mailbox, color photo

I’m a bundle full of fun. My list of fun things include being diagnosed with cancer at age 33, having the BRAC1 gene mutation, doing six months of oral chemo, having a hysterectomy at 34, my ovaries and tubes out at 34, enduring a double mastectomy, and a million scans and procedures under my belt, followed by five months of oral chemo. I was a stay-at-home mom during this time with a 7, 5, and 2-year-old.  Sometimes I feel like I experienced a whole lifetime in one short snapshot of a year.   At the beginning of my diagnosis, our mailbox...

Keep Reading

This is What Cancer Looks Like

In: Cancer, Motherhood
Mother lying on bed with toddler sprawled across her, color photo

While I was going through active treatment and recovering from procedures and surgeries, certain moments during the day triggered this thought in my head, This is what cancer looks like. I envisioned a still shot of that moment and that title above it. One of the first times I had this thought was when I was lying on the couch watching my daughter play. I was fatigued and my heart was racing, but I was still a mom needing to supervise my 2-year-old.  She came over and held my hand.  This is what cancer looks like. In the days following...

Keep Reading

Cancer is Not in Charge

In: Cancer, Living
Mother with bald head holding child, color photo

My entire life, I’ve felt much pride and comfort in being a person who was highly organized, a planner, someone who truly enjoys predictability. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, everything that encompassed my normal way of living was disrupted. And there was no way to fix it. This was not a good feeling—frankly, it sucked. I’m a stay-at-home mom of three young children. My first thoughts after my breast cancer diagnosis were how this was going to affect them. Would they even still have a mother in a year? These are terribly hard things to think about when you...

Keep Reading