It’s now been eight years since my mother died from metastatic breast cancer. She died on March 6, 2008. She was initially diagnosed (early stage, ER+) in February 2004. Her cancer “officially” metastasized in late fall of 2007. A few months later she was gone. I’ve been marking time here on the blog for the last few years not because I look for pity or sympathy or anything at all. I mark time because #wewillnotforget.
I also mark time each year because it’s a really simple way to illustrate the numbers.
And the numbers suck. Big time.
In the eight years since my mother died, too many others have died from metastatic breast cancer. Too many other families have witnessed great suffering and have been left to deal with enormous loss. Too many, just too many.
For my family, it’s been eight years now.
That’s 2,920 days.
Sometimes it seems like only yesterday and at other times it seems like a lifetime ago. So much has changed.
I have often thought about how my mother might have reacted to my diagnosis and all the ensuing fallout since that day. I have often wondered about things she might have done or things she might have said.
But of course, I’ll never know.
Sometimes I am relieved she never knew. Sometimes I still get damn angry she wasn’t/isn’t here to commiserate with.
But… it wasn’t meant to be.
Since my mother died on March 6, 2008 there have been roughly 40,000 more deaths every year in the US alone. Every year.
This means since March 6th, 2008, 320,000 more lives have been snuffed out by metastatic breast cancer.
Grandmothers. Mothers. Wives. Partners. Daughters. Sisters. Aunts. Cousins. Friends. Co-workers. Too many. Just too many.
Grandfathers. Fathers. Husbands. Partners. Sons. Brothers. Uncles. Cousins. Friends. Co-workers. Men are not immune from this wretched disease either. Too many. Just too many.
The numbers are staggering.
That’s more than 756 every week.
More than 3,000 every month.
40,000 every year.
Again, this is in the US alone.
Too many. Just too many.
Lives gone forever. Loved ones’ lives changed forever as well.
So once again, I mark time.
I mark time to remember, but of course, I remember every single day.
I also mark time because we need to do better.
We must do better.
Featured image via I want more than a pink ribbon and used with permission.
Who do you mark time for?