It has taken me a while to begin sharing again on this site because I knew this post needed to be written. As I have said many times before, this blog has been a great way for me to record my time in Chicago, and life for that matter, in the form of a digital scrapbook. With that being said, I didn’t feel like it was right not to address this major, devastating event in my life, as this blog has become record of my story.
On November 25, 2015, the day before Thanksgiving, my mom passed away at the age of 46. The countless number of treatments for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and most recently non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, took their tool on her body. Due to her neutropenic state, she was unable to fight off an infection. When we checked into the hospital, we never once thought that we would leave two days later without our family’s rock. My mom’s passing came as a huge shock to many of our family members and friends who did not know that since her last stem cell transplant in 2013 she had never been cancer-free.
In hindsight, I feel naive to have thought that her body could continue to beat the many infections she faced the last three years after receiving two stem cell transplants and countless rounds of chemotherapy. But then again, why would I doubt? If anyone was going to put up one hell of a fight, it was my mom. She didn’t let cancer run her life and refused to let it define her.
Since that dreadful night two months ago, I have relied on the love of family and friends to fill the gapping hole I feel all the way down to my core. I knew before how special both the Petersen side and Donchetz side are, but it is moments like these that truly make you realize the extent to which they love and support you. I know that losing my mom would be a thousand times more devastating without amazing people to share her memory with.
So now the question is, how do you embrace all of her greatest qualities and jump back on the train of life? I am fortunate that I have time on my side. Graduating a semester early has allowed my to face the grieving process day-by-day. I sure disagree that there is a linear grieving cycle. Some days I feel fine and reassured that I will be able to find some sense of normality in life again, and other days I feel like I am walking around with the biggest weight on my shoulders. The void feels so big.