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Friday, January 4, 2013

Remembering...

Cancer has stolen a lot from me. Time, energy, breasts...but the most precious thing I have as a mother...the one thing I cannot replace...my memory. They call it Chemo Brain. It's funny to forget why I'm in the kitchen or to buy milk three times in one week because I keep thinking I didn't get it last time but with Ava's birthday coming on Tuesday, I tried to think back about my pregnancy and moments from childbirth and it's a dark and distant recollection. It's like there are holes - long, black holes filled with everything I love in the world and they are sealing up. She is the love of my life...she runs heart first, head last. She embraces every stray animal and child, cries at every movie...cries because the movie MAY be sad, loathes homework and drives me crazy. She loves blueberries and the beach and One Direction. She can get a room brighter than the Aurora Borealis but at night, she sleeps like a cherub, dark and buried under 1000 covers with her blanket and her light up heart pillow. She is on the cusp of a young lady with the zeal and dimple of a toddler and I love every inch of her scattered, adorable, clumsy, beautiful self. As I watch her move through her days I wonder if I will remember these moments. I don't have many memories of her a baby...or a young girl. It's as if the vault of my life has been cracked and stolen. When I look at pictures of my children as babies, I have glimpses of recollection but the things you want to remember...their first steps, their smell, the way their hair would feel as we stroked them to sleep; the first words. I rely on the stories I have told over and over of those moments because the actual moments are gone. It may be the single greatest thing that's ever been taken from me. It's another casualty of cancer...I can hate it and think about how much I hate it but then it wins - again and what it wins is my memory. I will remember the loathing and I can't do that. I would rather remember my children. If there is empty space where my memories should be, I refuse to fill it with cancer. Let that bitch find its own place to live. What I do remember about Ava...she came into the world eight days late. My millenium baby, due December 31, 1999; Nashville, TN. She was so big the doctors wanted to take her out but I knew Ava would find her way, on her own time. She's been that way ever since. In one hour my water broke and her foot was down the birth canal and I was in labor on the freeway at 75mph. Rushed from the curb to labor and delivery, an emergency C section followed and out she came, 9lbs 13 oz. It was during a huge Titans' game in Nashville...the Music City Bowl and just as Ava was coming out I could hear the announcer screaming, "It's a Miracle, It's a Miracle..." the now famous Music City Miracle touchdown that brought the Titans a win, but I had my own. From then its foggy and then it's just dark. I wish I could remember how she felt in my arms...I wish I could see her face in my mind...I wish I could close my eyes and go back so I can have it again. I wish so many things... So Happy Birthday to my precious Ava...I will keep telling you the beauty that is you and I hope you never forget the way you changed my life.

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