“We are all broken,
that’s how the light gets in.”
Aaron and I were married in May of 2008. We both worked our way through school, grew our family and built something to be proud of. We had faced many trials through our ten years of marriage but our greatest trial was battling cancer. Our battle with cancer, even though it was only a short 8 months, has completely changed who I am and has defined who I always will be. Even though I was only his caregiver, cancer effected our whole home and it will for the rest of our lives.
January 19th Aaron and I were at Clear Lake Hospital and I gave birth to our 3rd child. She was beautiful and perfect. For most people a moment like this is one of the happiest, and it was, but I was also very worried. I had just given birth and my husband was sleeping more than I was. Overall, he seemed ok, but something was just off about him. My heart was not prepared for what we would soon learn.
A few weeks later we found out Aaron had Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer. I didn’t really understand what it felt like to have your life change in an instant. I thought I did. Aaron and I had faced many major life events together. Getting married, having children, changing jobs… all these things we had prepared for. We planned them, so we were ready and welcomed them. Cancer just hit us in the face and all the sudden we were fighting for our life, fighting for our future. I resigned from my position as a teacher at my school, so I could care for my husband and not knowing then, but to prepare myself to become the head of the household.
Cancer brought out the worst in me at times. I yelled at my kids when they didn’t deserve it, I complained about my husband when he was fighting for his life, and I was angry at all the wrong people when their intentions were filled with love. I cried a lot, ate way too many cookies, screamed in pillows, and cursed a lot. I was in a constant state of fear, everything was unfamiliar, and my reactions were often based solely on emotion. Though cancer brought out the ugly in me, the person that came out on the other side was someone I never thought I could be. I wasn’t “just” a caregiver. I was a wife, a mother, a chauffeur, a chef, a nurse, a cheerleader, a handyman, a maid, a teacher, an advocate, a peacemaker, a voice, a believer and a light in my home. We loved each other, we cherished our time together, we celebrated small success, we gave gratitude for each passing day, we said sorry and gave hugs. We cried together, we prayed together, and we fought cancer together.
On September 19, 2018, exactly 8 months after welcoming new life into the world I said goodbye to my loving husband, father of my children, and a beautiful soul. Who am I? I’m one of the many faces of cancer. A widow, a single mother and heartbroken. Though we lost our battle to cancer, I can’t and won’t let it win the war. Aaron had so much life to live and so do many more that will face this hard fight. Though Aaron isn’t physically here anymore his spirit and fire live on and my role as his caregiver and wife will never end as I’m left behind to share his story. I didn’t have a choice in how this story would be written but what I have learned through this journey and what I hope to convey to my children and others around me is that we do what we can, we put one foot in front of the other, stand together and to never give up. If we do that we are all survivors.