This final entry in Margo’s blog is very over due, and an entry I wish with all my heart I never had to write. My beautiful, kind, generous, artistic, thoughtful, innocent, newlywed daughter lost her all too brief battle with cancer on September 21, 2012. Margo spent her last hours battling this horrific disease with every ounce of her being, just as she did every day since receiving her diagnosis in December of 2011. On that dreadful day in December I accompanied my newly engaged daughter to a doctor’s appointment to receive the results of tests she had done the week prior, a visible nervous Margo chatted with me obsessively (Margo always talked when she was nervous) convinced that she had something terribly wrong. I consoled her as any mother would do, you are young, this is nothing, I had something like it, this is why you have a yearly pap, blah, blah, blah never imagining that I would hear the word cancer mentioned in the same sentence as my daughter’s name. “Margo I am so very sorry, the tests indicate you have cancer.” I have buried both my parents, stood next to a priest as he delivered last rights to my husband (thankfully my husband had a different plan) none of which prepared me for that moment. Margo was hysterical, I guess that goes without saying, and I went into “mother lion” mode, consoling my child, questioning the doctor and trying to plan my next move. Leaving the doctor’s office and driving Margo home to deliver our news I thought nothing could possibly be any worse, how very wrong I was!
Margo never wanted to hear the odds she was up against and faced every appointment, surgery, treatment and scan with a smile on her face making friends along the way, (many of whom follow this blog) that was my daughter. From the day she was born, she was always happy, positive, and confident, everyone was her friend! How many times did she come home from school, from swim practice, from work, or on the playground , the beach to tell me she had made a new friend, from the first hello, you were her friend. Underneath that gallant smile was a frightened women, I encouraged her to speak with a counselor but she did not want to tell her story to a stranger, so I mentioned she might want to keep a journal, put her hopes and fears all down on paper so she could move beyond them. For my generation a journal was a book we would write in daily, kept locked in our bedside table, imagine my shock when Margo, who did not want to talk to “A” stranger, decided to share her story in a blog, on the internet, with the world! She was so hopeful, so excited to share her story, beaming with pride over how many followers she had, looking forward to reading peoples comments and gaining strength and support from people she never met. You followed her to appointments, surgeries, first chemo, you gave her a place to share the disappointment she felt as she never seemed to get a break, you met “her boys”, read about her angels, you watched her select a wedding dress while losing her hair and she took you with her on her wedding trip to marry her “best friend”. With each entry, no matter how horrible she felt or how bleak things looked Margo would not consider any other outcome, she was going to “BAMit”. Even as the nurses wheeled her to the ICU as I tried to explain to her what was happening, having to ask her difficult questions like did she wish to be resuscitated, she would not have that conversation with me, I saw the fear in eyes but she was not going to let it in, she would not consider any other outcome.
I am her mother, it is my job to protect her, to fix things and I was helpless, I was letting her down, I was faced with the reality that my child, my pride and joy was going to be denied the life she clung to so desperately. If I could not make her well than it was my duty to prepare her for what was next but true to Margo we were not going there either. I struggle with not being able to save my child and my failing to prepare her for her death, but as her father pointed out she was 24 years old, death was not an option and would never be accepted even as she struggled to take her very last breath it was not going to win.
That life she so desperately longed for was obvious even as a young child she dreamt of having a Cinderella wedding and raising a family of her own. She and Blaine would cut out pictures of their dream husbands, (Derek looked like none of them) wedding dresses, honeymoon locations, homes, pools, furniture, and of course children, lots of children. She spent her teen years babysitting on weekends and loving other people’s children like they were her own, she later became a preschool teacher and than a Nanny, each child leaving their footprint on her heart. At her funeral, in the receiving line, countless women introduced themselves by saying Margo used to babysit my Slade…, my Christopher…,my Connor…my Drew…, my Emma…, my Patrick…, my Elaina… my Maggie and the list goes on and on. She may have been denied the opportunity to bare her own children but she did have her family a very large family and she married her prince, her legacy lives on in Derek and all of “her” children.
I continue to miss my Margo deeply and struggle daily to find my way in a world void of her scrunched nose smile, we all look to find a meaningful purpose for her life and to maintain our connection through our memories. We are forever grateful for our family, for our old friends and for our new friends (also known as the” left hand of god”) who help to make the heartache manageable. I remind the girls daily we will not waste our energy asking why this tragedy had to happen to Margo or to our family, (that question will never have an acceptable answer), we were not given a choice about Margo’s illness or the outcome but we do have a choice as to what we will do with our pain…we can let it tear us apart or we can let it bring out greatness, I know what Margo is cheering for.