One year ago tomorrow my aunt passed away. It is incredibly hard for me to believe that she is gone, let alone that an entire year has gone on without her.

I thought I would have all of these profound things to say as this day approached, but I don’t. I remember how those last 12 hours transpired – all the time I spent on the phone with my mom, listening to her debate whether or not she should go to my aunt’s house to say goodbye; watching the clock and waiting for the phone to ring; trying desperately to swallow my dinner, but just chewing and chewing and chewing; being afraid to go to sleep that night, anticipating the phone call that would be coming. Then I remember the phone ringing at almost 6 AM. I was sleeping very lightly and when it rang I jumped and had to reach over my husband to answer it. I knew what I was about to hear, so as I reached for the phone all I kept repeating was, “Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit.” like somehow if I kept saying that I would wake up from an awful dream. But I didn’t, and I heard what I didn’t want to hear but what I knew was inevitable.

Once again I think about a line from one of my favorite books – The Little Prince:

” You understand…It is too far. I cannot carry this body with me. It is too heavy.”
“Here it is. Let me go on by myself.”

A few days before she passed away, my aunt had a huge decision to make – she could have one more potentially fatal dose of chemo or she could go home. Even after her doctor begged her to stay in the hospital, my aunt chose to go home. Someone very close to me said of this situation, “Sometimes it’s just time to give up.” That made me so angry because she didn’t give up. She didn’t lose her battle with cancer. She knew the odds. She knew what would happen to her whether she went home or she tried one more treatment. She went home to be where she loved, to be with her family, to be away from the tubes and the needles. She died on her own terms and she died with dignity. Because of that, I forever will be proud of her.

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