Death is unexpected. I’m not saying this in some sort of eerie way, but it is. In January 2017, I had to start thinking about death. In January of 2017, my mother got pancreatic cancer. Cancer was not something I had ever thought of before. No one close to me had ever had it. I didn’t really care. But when my mom got diagnosed, I had to care. At first, I buried the pain deep inside and pretended it wasn’t there. She can’t be THAT sick, I told myself. But the reality was harsher. I didn’t know how deadly pancreatic cancer was. I don’t think I will ever understand what it did to her. I am not very good at science. I don’t understand exactly how the body works. When my mom got surgery, I thought the cancer was gone. I really believed that everything was fine. It wasn’t.
My mother died on November 15th, 2017. Three days earlier her doctors had decided to take her off chemo. It was too late. By the next day, the cancer had spread to her liver, lungs, and kidneys. The feelings I had during the three days she was alive after chemo were three of the strangest days of my life. It was not sadness necessarily. For me, the situation was a bit laughable. A continual thought played on a loop, over and over through my mind: Why is this happening to her? For my whole life, my mother was the epitome of put together. She was always healthy. You would never expect something like this to happen to her. But cancer doesn’t care. Cancer does not care if you are healthy. Cancer does not care about the color of your skin or your diet. Cancer can attack anyone at any moment, and that is was I learned from losing my mother. It can happen to anyone.
Everybody knows somebody. Whether it is a friend, grandfather, distant cousin or mother. Cancer affects everyone. I am not the most educated person on the topic of cancer research. In fact, when my mother got cancer my sister did all the research. She wanted to learn everything about what was happening. I didn’t. It devastated me to know about this monster that was taking my mother from me. Now that she is gone, all I can do is try to help others. I don’t want other children to experience what I have experienced. I don’t want other husbands to experience what my father experienced. I don’t want anyone to experience what my mother experienced. We need a cure. We are the future, and The Cure Campaign can help. It can help everyone. Everyone knows someone and that should not be the case. I will not lose anyone else to cancer. I refuse to stay silent anymore.
Bella Klaidman, 15