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I miss my mommy.


Steve and I were sitting with a friend who was living temporarily in Windsor.  He was explaining that it was very hard on his wife, who missed her family.  ‘She talks to her mother at least once a day.’ He said.


‘Julie talks to her mother at least once an hour,’ Steve said.  It was true too—even after I stopped phoning her in the morning when I got to work as not to wake her she would call me when she woke to verify I had arrived safely. 


My mother fought this for over twenty years.    A mastectomy in 1988.  Lymph nodes tested, declared clean.  A liver scan in 2002 declared the opposite—the cancer had been growing inside her. 


Life moved on, as it does.  Weddings for my sisters and me.  Funerals for her mother, her aunt Faye, her brother Jerry and sister-in-law Helena, nephew Neal.  Seven grandchildren, six which she took care of until they were ready for school so that my sister’s could work.  My father’s bypass, heart attack, tracheotomy, coma.


There have been tears, meals, shops, holidays.  Tamoxifin, Femara, Zometa, radiation. Days in bed, afternoons at the cancer center. Dinners with friends, endless Target runs.  Lots of laughter – no one could tell a joke like my mother – great delivery, she never laughed in the middle – and if you got a good one on email you would phone her immediately to see if it could become part of repertoire.   ‘Print that out for me,’ she’d say.


We could have conversations for hours about anything and nothing and she used to tell us to bury her with a cell phone so that we could phone her and let her know what was going on.  She was my best friend and my sister’s too and I called her my second favorite person in the world.  She was the first until I had Jaron.


My mother was incredibly traditional and fiercely devoted to her family.  She taught my sisters and me how to be a daughter and spent most of her life considering everyone else’s needs before her own—her parents, aunt, my father, my sisters and I and then our children.  I have told my own husband numerous times that if I take a quarter of as good care of him as my mother took of my father he is a lucky person.


Her sheer will to live and strength in fighting this blows me away even as I have been watching it unfold before my eyes.  I just recently realized how incredible she really was, what she really had in her.  Even though she had been sick for years I had never seen her weak until the very end. 


I want to thank some people for really being there—Sydelle Goldman, Lois Hamill, Dr. Goldman and the infusion staff at Providence Novi, the nurses at St. John’s Hospice, Julie Schwartz Hennessey for being there for her and my son, Joanne Goldberg for taking her to endless chemo’s and appointments when my sister’s and I had to work, Karen Haydu for her manicures with a side of massage and healing.  And in the last few days, Yael Gross for taking care of us with meals, Mary Jo Thomas for taking care of her, Evelyn and Lesley Pearl.


My friend Elyse said that she felt like she had lost a body part when her mother died and that is the only thing that make sense to the pain I feel – a piece of my heart has broken off.


I will miss you everyday for the rest of my life.

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