My eyes would tear up two minutes after my mom left from helping me recover from chemo. She came up and helped on days 3-5 after infusions typically, and my kids went to my in-laws, sisters, or to my parent’s house without my mom there to be watched. I needed my own caregiver while my husband worked. My mother was up for the role she hadn’t had for 20 years. 

She listened to me talk repeatedly about my cancer appointments, my ailments, and my concerns about my kids. Never once did she complain but listened and comforted.
It’s weird, at 34, my greatest comfort was my mother.

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My mom typically geared up to leave part way through Friday so my husband could help me after he was done with work. She took care of me through the discontentment, throwing up, stomach issues, and feelings of confusion, and she drove me to Culver’s at least once during her stay. Not to feed me since food really wasn’t desired, but she did this to give me something to do. We had a purpose: to drive to Culver’s. We’d hop in the car, talk about what we were going to order, get our food, and drive home. Distraction at its best.

She did hundreds of loads of laundry that piled up while she was gone. She cleaned the toys up and helped tuck the kids into bed. My fridge was stocked before she’d go back to her house. All the things I had once done were now being done by my mother.

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Until recently, I had never told her that I cried and cried when she left. Ugly sobbing cries. Inconsolable cries. Cries I hid from her as I knew her new title of “a parent with a child with cancer” was hard on her too. My poor husband sat next to me and tried to comfort me, but my need for my mother during those moments was indescribable.  

To this day, I still need her. Luckily it is for questions about how to cook chicken (I’ll never actually get this right!), what onion to buy for her famous stuffing, and just to chat and hear her voice. Truly, there is nothing greater than your own mother. I love you and need you on Mother’s Day or when I’m fighting for my life—and every day in between. 

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

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Charissa Bates

Charissa is a Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor at the age of 33. She has three beautiful children and works part-time as a mental health therapist. Writing has become empowering and therapeutic. Standstill: A Young Mom Conquering Triple Negative Breast Cancer will be available on her "Cancerversary" on December 12, 2022. Two other children’s books will be coming soon: We Find Joy (Cancer Messed with the Wrong Family) & The Traveling Book. Charissa runs and Salt Shaker Ministries. Also operates Busy Moms Need Jesus ( with her friend, Abbey.

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