Another amazing moment that I am so thankful for is when my mom came to visit me in April. We had the best time; I got to show her my college, where I live, and she finally got to meet my boyfriend and so many of my friends. We went to Haifa and Jerusalem, Nazareth and the Dead Sea. We spent all of our time just being together and simply enjoying each other’s company. I knew that there wouldn’t be many more times where I got to share such moments like this with her. For those of you who don’t know me personally, my mother got diagnosed with Bile Duct cancer in June 2015. But as my mom always said, she had cancer, but she wasn’t sick. She didn’t let the cancer take over her life and she had absolutely no time to pity herself. She continued to work and do things as she normally would have. My mom’s optimism and positive energy spread like wildfire. She made me (and those who loved her) feel like she was invincible; that there was no way she would let this stupid cancer thing kill her. 

After being admitted to the hospital in late July and a long fought battle, she passed away in early September this year at the age of 53. Those last weeks were the only time it really felt like she was sick. When I returned home from Israel on August 6, our family was told she only had a few days left. Her kidneys were failing and she was retaining a lot of cancerous fluid in her abdomen. She was barely responsive and the chemo wasn’t responding. But sure enough, after a few days of sleeping and taking a few sips of water here and there, the almighty Diane woke up. She was frail but strong at the same time. She knew what she wanted and what she didn’t. After that, we had a lot of crazy up’s and down’s but it was so important for me, and for my family, that she gave us those last few weeks. I got to spend time with her, talk to her about life and other not-so important things. For me, being able to take care of my mother when she couldn’t do it herself was the best gift she gave me. 

My whole life, my mom and my dad took care of my sister, brother and I. Like any other parent, they wanted us to do and achieve anything we wanted. It was my turn to give back do every- and anything to make her more comfortable.. I even massaged her feet! (P.S I hate feet; and my mom’s weren’t that pretty either). I washed her hair, brushed her teeth and cleaned her glasses when they had fingerprints all over the lenses. It doesn’t seem special, but it really was. I’m so thankful for all those little moments in her last few weeks. To quote Maya Angelou, “To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of the rainbow.” And she really was a hurricane in its perfect power, she always has been. 

One of the good things that came out of the shitty situation that is cancer, is how close it brought my family together. I feel more connected with my aunts and uncles and cousins. With all the hardships that my mom’s death has brought my family, that closeness I feel makes it a little bit easier. 

Another person I am thankful for and doesn’t ever receive enough credit is my dad. He really is such a strong person even though he doesn’t see himself that way. He does done EVERYTHING for our family and he will do anything in his power to help the ones he cares about. He’s even taken over Diane’s cooking duties; he’s made Shepherds pie, he cooks my brother food almost every night, and today he’s making my mom’s stuffing, a delicious turkey and the list goes on and on. He’s such a trooper and I’m so thankful to have such a strong father figure in my life.

The list of people I am thankful for is endless; my brother and sister of course, Shar for being there for me all the time and all my family’s friends who supported us this summer. From bringing us lots of food when we were running back and forth from Sloan Kettering every day, to donating money on our GoFundMe page, to giving us rides from the bus stop, to simply asking us how we are and if there is anything they can do for us. You guys all rock and I am so so so thankful for all of you!!!

So here’s to another year of up’s and down’s, twists and turns, laughter and crying… I wouldn’t want anything else.