I planned on sitting down to write my post for the #ReadMyLips campaign last Monday night. But, after an 11 hour day at work, I was exhausted and figured my words could wait until tomorrow.
Little did I know my mom would die that Tuesday morning.
I want to share tidbits about my mom with you, President Trump. The first being that she was an avid fan of yours. The morning after you got elected, she texted me, squealing, "We did it!" Never before have I been so proud to be a part of something as exhilarating as this election in history. My mom was the kind of person who could put anyone to shame with what she knew about politics. A democrat, turned republican, my mom educated herself in a way a college education never could. She just understood life. She understood what it meant to be a good person, to give, and if you would have looked up the word selfless in the dictionary there would have been a 4x4 of my mom's picture and a list of all the kind things she'd done for not just me, but strangers around her town that she'd never meet again.
You should also know that my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer in May of 2011. I was living abroad at the time, and when I came home, I was sent into a whirlwind of what her head looked like without hair. I was sent in such a tizzy because my mom, for the 9 months I was oversees, not once let on she had cancer. I knew, of course, but she talked with me on the phone every day for two hours. She talked about work, and what my sister was up to, and how my dad was working on laying down new tile in the kitchen. She made it a point to keep my life as normal as possible.
And when I came home, that nurturing didn't stop. My mom went to work while receiving chemo. She sat with patients, some of which had it worse than she, and she listened to their stories. My mom alleviated financial worry they carried, and did whatever she could - and often succeeded - in getting patients the help they needed; the help they deserved. My mom carried on when her breast cancer went into her lungs, and she received every horrific side effect from all the drugs she was on. They hit her hard, and there were more days than not when she was unable to get up out of bed - but she always persevered because she had an incredible amount to live for.
In March of 2016, my mother's health began to decline and looking back, I wish I had prepped myself more than I did. I held tightly onto the notion that my mom would live forever - just like every little girl. The cancer went to her brain and my mom had 5 tumors swelling inside her. Some were removed, and I seen my mom come out of surgery unable to open her eyes, and looked like someone I didn't even recognize. She couldn't speak to me for three days. When she had to go to rehab, my father and I talked about what to do with the house, when my mom, came out of the ambulance with a smile on her face, waving at us like nothing serious at all had happened.
She learned to walk again in rehab. She learned how to write her name again, how to pour a cup of water because coffee was still too dangerous. She never lost her sense of humor, and I sat with her for hours each day, racing to get there after work, faxing forms to the state, contacting her HR department, sending faxes to her physicians, all the while forgetting about how taxing all of this was for me, because she was my mom - of course I was going to do it.
Things were fine for a little while, and then the tumors came back, and she was loaded up on steroids to make them better. And they did - but they also caused my mom severe dizziness, and a loss of peripheral vision, and constant fogginess where she could no longer drive. My mom needed the help of a walker, and had constant severe pain in her legs that wouldn't let her sleep. She couldn't work, even though she wanted to. She couldn't go with me to JC Penney's, even though she wanted to. She went back into the hospital and the surgery was canceled because the steroids had lessened the swelling.
And that happened again two weeks ago, right before she died from a heart attack.
My mom was put under pressure about keeping her house, and keeping her benefits when she lost her job. Benefits are what kept her alive. She was on chemo, whether through her port, or via pill every single day since May of 2011. She was terrified without it; we all were. She tried so hard to keep everything together, but the state took forever with her disability, which she'll never see come in, and every time she called, she couldn't get through. She called the governor's office to no avail. She tried and tried, and tried again to come up with a Plan B on her own accord.
I don't want for another woman to have to endure that. There may be a lot I don't know about the world, and frankly, with the open wound of my mother's recent passing, the last thing I feel like doing is googling information that you, President Trump, already have access to. What I want for women's rights is the availability for women, diagnosed with cancer, and any other life threatening disease, to not have to choose between life and death because they aren't a candidate for a certain treatment.
What I want, President Trump, is for the state workers to use their humanity to understand that their time frames for getting something done adds extra pressure to someone who may not be strong enough to wait for it. Encourage workers, on every level, to evoke communication. An update from someone on a process could be all it takes for someone to feel better on a momentary basis.
What I want, President Trump, is for you to stand with me, and my mom, who voted for you, who was so happy to see you get in office, know that she didn't die in vain - that women with stage 4 breast cancer are going to be at the forefront of one of your causes, and that people who want to live, can.
I hold on tightly to the belief that my mother was going to pass away despite what I would have done to stop it. I have to hold on to that belief that everything happens for a reason because otherwise thinking about the 'what-ifs' would prevent me from receiving any healing. And, my mother wouldn't want that.
I want to share with you, President Trump, what a wonderful woman my mother was, and that she was a fighter all the way until the very end. I ask you not to forget about her, because without her, that vote could have changed everything for you. Honor my mom by helping those with a will to live, and with the affordability to do it should they lose their job, should they be faced with the decision between life and death, because it happens around the world more often than we realize.
It's not a coincidence that I write this to you on International Women's Day using the #HerVoiceIsMyVoice because my mom, my best friend, was the kind of woman who I looked up to for inspiration.
Because if there's anything my mother was, it was an inspiration.
I don't want her to be forgotten.
When I thought about this article several weeks ago, I was jotting down ideas about a title, "#ReadMyLips President Trump, I Voted For You, But That Doesn't Mean I Want My Mom To Die."
Now that she has, my mother would want me to use my voice so another little girl somewhere out there gets to keep her mom just a little bit longer and hopefully, get to have their mom at their wedding. That's something that has been taken from me now, forever.
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Published author and writer of things people pretend to have interest in. My greatest accomplishment is that I'm known by name at two Starbucks locations even though they think my name is Britney. If you want to see Instagram photos of my cats, follow me @ Insta: kort_nay Twitter: kort_nay [...]