Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

October 23, 2013

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

(Continued)

Folks from my hometown of Galesburg, did all of those things for my family. It was most appreciated.

A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming.

When mom first received her terminal prognosis four years ago, the family was devastated. Shortly after she was told the cancer was beyond cure, we had a birthday party for my eldest daughter. Mom wept while she sang “Happy Birthday.” Dad’s voice cracked while saying grace. My wife, Joan, thought of her mother, who died of breast cancer a few weeks before our wedding. At times, during this long battle with cancer I was at a loss to know what to say to my mom.

The only thing that seemed just right was, “I love you.”

The chemotherapy left her bald. Sores developed on her feet. The cancer sapped her energy. Nausea haunted her for years. It was not an easy life. But it was one she endured without complaining. Some folks call that courage. I call it character.

Despite her difficulties, mom always had a smile for her family.

When folks ask what I remember most, that’s it.

I love you, Mom.

— Scott Reeder is a veteran statehouse reporter and the journalist in residence at the Illinois Policy Institute. He can be reached at sreeder@illinoispolicy.org

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