Marking Time Again – Year Six

Remembering loved ones who have died always matters. Marking time since they’ve been gone matters too, at least it does to me. I believe doing so honors them. On March 6, 2008 my mother died from metastatic breast cancer. It’s now been six years. Today, and every day, I remember. Today, once again, I “mark time.”

I do not remember and I do not mark time to garner sympathy. I don’t want sympathy.

No, I do so because I want the world to realize that breast cancer is still a deadly disease. It is not about pink and pink ribbons, walks and races, being strong, being brave or winning/losing a battle.

It’s about so much more than trite cliches, simplistic messages and unrealistic expectations.

I do not wish to be all “doom and gloom sounding” either.

No, but I am and will remain a realist.

And the reality is that every year 40,000 women and men die from metastatic breast cancer in the US alone.

This means that since that day in March six years ago, 240,000 more women and men have died from this disease in just the US. This means that 240,000 more families have been impacted by this disease like mine was with the death of a loved one.

No, I do not want sympathy.

I want more conversation about metastatic breast cancer. I want more research dollars devoted to finding answers about how to better understand and some day prevent metastasis. I want less harsh treatments and better outcomes for those dealing with metastatic disease today. I just want better…

This is why I remember.

This is why I will continue to mark time.

By reading this post you have helped me do that.

Thank you.

Note:  For more information about metastatic breast cancer, visit my mets page. For thirteen facts everyone should know about metastatic breast cancer click here. 

We will not forget.

Who do you mark time for?

One of my all-time favorites

One of my all-time favorite photos of my mother and my daughter.

37 comments


  • Elizabeth J

    March 6, 2014

    God bless you and comfort you.
    Like you, in my family breast cancer is multigenerational.
    You are so right. We need a cure. In honor of the mothers and grandmothers who had it before us. For the sake of our daughters who come after us. For our own sakes.
    Thank you for your work on behalf of all of us with metastatic breast cancer.

    • Nancy

      March 7, 2014

      Elizabeth, Thanks for your supportive words and for helping me to mark time.

  • karen sutherland

    March 7, 2014

    dear Nancy,

    the photo of your dear Mom and your daughter is so lovely. I think your Mom would be so proud of the way you chose to mark the time from when she died with the truth of how so many other men and women have died from MBC,for MBC being so poorly funded, for treatments that are still so harsh, and for speaking out about WANTING BETTER.

    I hope this day brings you closer to your Mom’s presence in your life with…

    …much love and light,

    Karen xoxoxo

    • Nancy

      March 7, 2014

      Karen, Thank you so much.

  • maesprose

    March 7, 2014

    Nancy – The numbers are staggering as to the loss of life we are seeing and the blind eye many organizations have towards metastatic breast cancer. You honor your mother and all those we’ve known here in cyberspace by not letting the dust settle on this disease.

    • Nancy

      March 7, 2014

      Mae, That’s the thing, the numbers remain staggering. All the awareness and hype just hasn’t changed what really needs changing – those numbers. When I think about all the families impacted year in and year out, well… you know. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Nicole Renée

    March 7, 2014

    Nancy,

    I LOVE the beautiful photo of your Mom and daughter … what a blessing to have cherished memories.

    I’m so tired of people stopping at “awareness” and never looking at these INSANELY staggering numbers … that aren’t going down. :(

    My heart is heavy for your loss and the millions of other grieving families losing a loved one to metastatic breast cancer.

    XOXO

    Nicole

    • Nancy

      March 7, 2014

      Nicole, I love it too. It’s one of my very favorites. And yes, I am very grateful for the memories. I cherish them for sure. Thanks so much for your lovely words.

  • Cancer is not Pink

    March 7, 2014

    This is such an important message. More information about the realities of breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer needs to be publicized instead of all the “feel good” pink campaigns.

    • Nancy

      March 7, 2014

      Cancer is not Pink, Reality. That’s what needs to be shared over and over again. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it.

  • Carolyn Frayn

    March 7, 2014

    Such a wonderful photo of your Mom and your daughter Nancy. Beautiful. You are a realist, and for that, and for so many other reasons, I wanted to thank you. Much love to you, dear friend…

    • Nancy

      March 7, 2014

      Carolyn, I think it’s a beautiful photo too. I just love old snapshots like that one. I am a realist for sure. Without the whole story of breast cancer being told, the most important “chapters” are being left out. Thanks for your warm words. Love to you too, dear one.

  • I know how painful the loss of our beloved mothers are – it leaves a pain in our hearts that can never be fully healed. You honor her memory with the work you do in raising awareness of MBC. You quote statistics which are frightening but it’s important we continue to share the faces behind the stats – the mothers, the wives, the daughters, the sisters that we have lost to this insidious disease.

    • Nancy

      March 7, 2014

      Marie, I know you understand all too well… I believe when one life lost to mbc is honored, all are somehow. And yes, behind the statistics are real people, real families. Of course we all know this, but… Thank you for reading and for your kind words. They mean a lot.

  • Kathi

    March 7, 2014

    I used to marvel at the way my own mom remembered the birthdays and death days of all the people she had loved and lost, every year. Now I get it.

    We seem to be marking time for too many, every year. It’s important to remember.

    Love that photo, Nancy. Hugs.

    • Nancy

      March 7, 2014

      Kathi, That’s a bittersweet thing to marvel at about your mom. We get it all too well now don’t we? When I did the math for the past six years (regarding the number of deaths), it really made me stop and think. The numbers are staggering. It is important to remember and to mark time. I don’t intend to stop. Thanks for the caring comments. Hugs back.

  • Lindsay

    March 7, 2014

    My gosh! What a cute little girl!

    Love that photo :)

    • Nancy

      March 9, 2014

      Lindsay, I know! So cute! Love the photo too.

    • Lindsay

      March 12, 2014

      I miss Grandma very much.

      • Nancy

        March 13, 2014

        Lindsay, I know you do. Me too.

  • Sarah

    March 8, 2014

    Thank you for this post. I am new to your blog, but find it one to be very helpful. I am 36, diagnosed in July of last year, just two years shy of my mothers 2nd anniversary of losing her battle to these awful disease. It has been a struggle to find places/people/blogs that are honest and raw when it comes to dealing with your own battle while still grieving the one you lost to it. So, thank you. I look forward to more insight.

    • Nancy

      March 9, 2014

      Sarah, Welcome. I’m glad you found me too. I’m sorry about your mother and about your diagnosis too. I hope you find some useful tips here and there to help you navigate things. Thanks for your feedback.

  • Susan

    March 8, 2014

    The picture of mother and Lindsay made me cry. Doesn’t seem possible that’s it’s been six years. Memories are precious . Susan

    • Nancy

      March 9, 2014

      Susan, Sometimes tears are necessary. I can’t believe it’s been six years either… Thank you for leaving a comment. Thinking of you…

  • Betty

    March 8, 2014

    Lovely remembrance.

    • Nancy

      March 9, 2014

      Betty, Thank you. I know you miss her too.

  • Mary K Hunt

    March 9, 2014

    I appreciate the comments that fighting breast cancer is so much more than “pink” anything. I finally had a mastectomy after going through breast cancer more than twice plus treatment, felt fine again and then started on these aromatise inhibitors and cannot find any relief from the head to toe incredible bone pain. Any suggestions for relief or why this happens or how long this will go on (so far almost two years) I would really appreciate. Reading and talking to Oncologists have not helped at all.

    • Nancy

      March 9, 2014

      Mary, Some suggest exercise to help with joint pain and other aches and pains. Some suggest Tylenol and that kind of thing. Some suggest switching to a different AI. The main thing is don’t suffer in silence. Keep talking to your doctors until they listen to you. Don’t settle. And good luck with things.

  • Lisa DeFerrari

    March 9, 2014

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful photo of your mom and your daughter. As those staggering numbers show, what is needed is not more pink ribbons but the kind of advances that translate into a meaningful decline in the tragic loss of lives. We can only get there with the necessary funding and coordinated research efforts.

    • Nancy

      March 9, 2014

      Lisa, Thank you for reading and commenting. I agree with you whole-heartedly about what is needed and what is not.

  • Jan Hasak

    March 11, 2014

    Wonderful post, Nancy! I mark time from my stage IV diagnosis. I believe my days are truly numbered from that point onward, and each new dawn I see is a precious sight, indeed. Keep the memories alive; I believe they revitalize a person. I have some memories I’ve chosen to repress and others that I’ve chosen to cherish. Keep up the inspiring posts! XOX

    • Nancy

      March 11, 2014

      Jan, Each new dawn is indeed precious, as are our memories of loved ones no longer with us. I’m sorry you have painful memories which you have chosen to suppress, but I suppose we all have some of those. Concentrate on those memories you cherish, my friend. Thanks for reading and sharing. xoxo

  • Claudia Schmidt

    March 14, 2014

    What a beautiful picture of your mother and daughter, and what a lovely testament of your love for her in this post. xo

    • Nancy

      March 14, 2014

      Claudia, Thank you.

  • Beth Gainer

    March 28, 2014

    Nancy,

    I love the photo. Priceless. Marking time is important, and I mark time for those I have lost to cancer. I will not forget about them.

    I’m leery about all fundraisers for all types of cancers or any illness for that matter. It seems our society is bent on making every disease a party with walks, festivities, and the like.

    • Nancy

      March 28, 2014

      Beth, Thank you very much. I know you understand and I know you’ve lost dear ones too. And no, we will not forget. And yes, I’m leery of those things you mentioned too.

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