This is the story of my mother. She came from nothing, a trailer park in Texas, to growing up in Orange County, CA. Lived her whole life fighting society’s judgements against her. My father passed away when i was 15, I had to drop out of school to work and help pay the mortgage (and go to college), and we were ignored by a large percentage of my father’s side of the family. She had previously fought breast cancer and had a double mastectomy when I was very young, and when I turned 26—she was waiting on social security benefits (and was on food stamps and government assistance) and she knew something was wrong. She couldn’t go to the doctor in fear of having a pre-diagnosis, so she waited 2-3 years. Two to three years later, there was cancer, it had metastasized. Left breast, to right. She chose, due to the fact her belief in god had given her everything she had asked for, to not fight it. That she was done. To that end, we walked through doctors, surgeons, her oncologist. Eventually she had another double mastectomy, was prescribed the wrong pain medication post-op… and due to Medicaid, had to wait 7 hours to get anything stronger than ibuprofen after having 220+ staples in her chest. We brought her to an assisted living center. She called me, and was 100% lucid, she never lost her wits. The staff had let someone across from her room just die during the night, alone. Begging for help. The staff refused to wheel her outside for a cigarette. I lost my mind, tried pulling her out, they tried convincing me she was crazy. She wasn’t. We pulled her out anyway. From there, she stayed at a family friend’s house, and I watched her go from 140, to 125, 110, 100, 90, 80, and finally to 69 lbs And gone. She never once complained. Or felt sorry for herself, she looked death in the eyes, and accepted her fate. She supported her children, despite her own addictions, and showed the world what being strong, resilient, and proud meant. I miss her terribly, every day.

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