Sunday, May 27, 2012

Letter to Hannah

 Dear Hannah-
                         I hope you know what a huge milestone today is for both of us. You, because you are finished with high school and moving on to bigger and better things. Me, because I have met that first milestone I set when I learned I had cancer-seeing you graduate from High School. I am so very proud of you and love you more than anything else in this world.

I previously wrote this: I remember sitting in the doctor's office as the surgeon said those dreaded words, "You have cancer". I felt like I stepped into the middle of a silent hurricane. There was a roar and a rage that spun my life in a direction I had never anticipated. When you are told you have cancer, it amounts to being given a death sentence. All sorts of crazy thoughts run through your head. Mine were "Will I live long enough to see my daughter graduate High School? Graduate College? Get married? Watch my grandchildren grow up?". Next you realize that you have just set milestones to meet. Then you dive right into the self-pity. When you finally come up for air, you prepare for your recommended treatment. Then you vow to fight the cancer with all you've got and set out on your survivor's journey. And it can be a tough one. Your safety, security and optimism about your life and the future is shaken. The world is revealed as unfair. And with those three little words, I became a breast cancer survivor. 

They say that when you face death, your life flashes before your eyes. I guess I chose to focus on the important things in my life. Which brings us to today. I am so sorry that your family members can't be counted on. You know that Grandma Martha would have been yelling the loudest and is probably throwing a raucous party in heaven, celebrating your achievement. I'm sorry that the father you knew and loved so much managed to scramble his brain and morph into a whole different person that is hard to love. He really is proud of you, he just doesn't know how to express it anymore. I'm sorry that the breast cancer almost deprived me of this moment. But it didn't and I'm planning to be around for all those other personal milestones I set. 

I know that you felt lost in the shuffle after your dad's accident. But I knew that there were plenty of people to take care of you, so I didn't worry. Then, just as I thought we were getting back on track, Cancer reared it's ugly head. And I focused totally and completely on myself. Please know that you are my priority and I am here for you. It is my greatest desire to see you succeed and do great things for the world. I love you.