A Hell of a Ride

Cancer pic

My aunt is a tough-ass broad. I say this intentionally, and hope no one is offended.  She truly is the toughest, most loving, woman that I knew.  I grew up in awe/fear of her – one of my mom’s little sisters. She always has her shit together (and is very likely to swear while telling you) and never (EVER) hesitates to say what she thinks. She had the “becoming a woman” talk with me because my mom was embarrassed. She tells my little brother when he is being an ass.  She’s amazing.

When my mom needed her the most 25 years ago, my aunt was there without hesitation. My mom had to start over in a different state with my brother while I was in Texas, and my aunt was the one to help put together the pieces.

She was an X-ray tehnician back in the 80s and 90s. She opened her gallery before the recession hit. She was a jewelry designer for years.  Today, she and two of her closest friends run an ebay store selling estate sale items and more.

AND, she has been fighting for life for over ten years. For ten years, she has been constantly battling a disease that first attacked her eye and has slowly but diligently pushed its way throughout her body with a mindless determination that is unprecedented. Cancer is a BITCH and Aunt Shirley is tough as hell.

The last two weeks for me have been a whirlwind of chaos. Kids activities, hours of school gala planning, and one of the longest work weeks of my life. And in the heart of this, on Tuesday night, I got the call from my mom.

“Honey, for the first time in 10 years, she is asking for help. She is just so weak.”

Those words were honestly some of the hardest that I’ve ever heard. Everyone has encountered cancer. EVERYONE has their battle scars. I have my battle scars from other family and friends that we have lost.

But Aunt Shirl is special. She’s Superwoman. And, I am so angry right now. I am so sad. I am so……

So here’s the deal. I can’t dwell on this because she’d tell me to stop being a “baby.” She is living an amazing life in spite of cancer.   She has shown her true strength in this fight while thriving and living and knowing that our legacy isn’t our end, but what we leave behind.

If we lose her this week, or this month, or in ten years, she has had one hell of a life. And she loves her family and friends  unconditionally. And we love her.

Cancer sucks and we all know that. But remember the lives they live, not the end of the journey if it comes. When cancer striikes, you fight – some beat it and some don’t – but they fight on and we love and are blessed that they have the strength to do it.


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