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Marking Time – Five Years Later

March 6, 2013 marks five years since my mother died from metastatic breast cancer. Sometimes it seems like it was only yesterday. Sometimes it seems like ages ago.

As it should, time continues on. Time stops for no one.

Five years feels like one of those memorable markers, one of those milestones in the grieving process people speak of.

But this post isn’t about the grieving process. Those thoughts will be for other days.

The purpose of this post is to remember, to mark time.

It seems important for some reason to say the words five years have passed; to state them out loud, to write them down, to share them with others.

Marking time matters. 

This post is also intended to be another reminder for anyone who will listen that my mother did not die because she had a poor attitude. She did not die because she failed to “fight the battle” long enough or hard enough. She did not succumb or give up. She died because she ran out of options to treat a wretched disease that still takes roughly 40,000 lives every year in the United States alone. Globally the annual rate approaches 500,000.

Pink and pink ribbons have not changed this fact all that much.

Behind every number is a face, a life, a family affected.

Remembering and honoring one life lost to metastatic breast cancer, somehow remembers and honors them all.

I’ve said these things before. I will say them again and again, because such things need repeating.

I will keep remembering.

I will keep marking time.

We will not forget.

Have you lost a parent (or both parents) or other loved one?

Have you lost someone you care about to metastatic cancer of any kind?

Do you keep track of time that’s passed since losing loved ones?


Yes, that’s me my mom is holding

Enjoying a special day

My mom loved her grandma role (my daughter and oldest son)

One of my all-time favorites

Taken after initial diagnosis before recurrence (my youngest son)

Susan Zager

Thursday 11th of April 2013

Nancy, what a beautiful memory of your mother. I love how you shared the precious pictures showing your children with your mother. I am sure the anniversary and time after it must have a mix of emotions. I lost my father in 2008 to pancreatic cancer, my brother almost 2 years ago of esophageal cancer, my closest friend who went through primary chemo with me at the same time, secondary chemo for MBC and died last year. I have have very close friend who gave me a home that is dying of lung cancer #NO STIGMA. But the important thing is to keep on keepin'...Plus remembering. Thank you for sharing this . I am sure you must miss your mother a lot.


Thursday 11th of April 2013

Susan, Thank you so much. You're very kind. And I'm so sorry for your losses, Susan.


Saturday 16th of March 2013

I have lost two sisters to metastatic breast cancer. The first in 1967 at age 37 - the second in 1989 at age 55. I have been spared, or so it would seem. I am now 74 and in excellent health.

It still seems impossible - only happens in other families.

Haven't undergone genetic testing - but have been faithful in medical check-ups.


Saturday 16th of March 2013

Also, I have participated in several studies through the years - The Sister Study at Cornell (I think) and an earlier tamoxifen blind study. The sister study delves extensively into environmental upbringing and we all three were raised in the same place, had essentially the same life. Interesting. There is no previous history of breast cancer in the family but many women in the family died young and were never diagnosed.


Saturday 16th of March 2013

Sally, I am so sorry about your two sisters. That's so awful. Knowing without a doubt there is cancer in the family is a burden for those family members who do not have or get cancer too. I'm sure you've wondered at times why them and not you, but I'm so glad to hear you are still in excellent health. That's truly wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing about your situation. I hope to hear from you again. My best.


Wednesday 13th of March 2013

I enjoyed the pictures you posted.


Wednesday 13th of March 2013

Lindsay, I'm glad you liked them. Thanks for commenting.

Jan Baird Hasak

Monday 11th of March 2013

Nancy, what a wonderful tribute to your fabulous mother. I can't believe it's been five years. For me, it's been 8 and one-half years since mom passed away from metastatic cancer. Not the same cancer I have, but nonetheless, cancer. Every Nov. 16 (her death anniversary), my youngest son texts me to remind me of his grandma and her life. It is so sweet that he remembers. Hugs, Jan


Monday 11th of March 2013

Jan, Thanks so much. And yes, it is indeed sweet that your son texts you each November 16th. It's a simple, yet lovely ritual for you both to share.

Marie Ennis-O'Connor (@JBBC)

Sunday 10th of March 2013

It is Mother's Day here in Ireland Nancy,and I am marking my second Mother's Day without my own beloved mother. I miss her every day


Sunday 10th of March 2013

Marie, I'm thinking of you, Marie. I hope knowing you are not alone in this too, helps just a bit. Hugs.

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