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'Dear Lauren’s girls, I will forever be thankful for your mum. She's truly one of a kind.'

Dear Lauren’s Girls,

I have a story I want to share, one that is probably similar to many others you’ve heard because it’s about your mum and what you’ve undoubtedly learnt is that your mum is pretty fabulous. In fact she is hard to fault and for me, someone who could probably fault perfection, this is a pretty tough achievement.

As one day you’ll no doubt find out, there are times in your life where you meet someone that changes you forever.

Often you don’t realise this at the time but like a ‘meet cute’ in a Hollywood romance film, it is the time in your life where two paths cross and from that a relationship develops, bringing with it memories, lessons and events that will impact who you are and the way you look at life so significantly that you can’t remember how, or more importantly why, you looked at life any differently before.

For me, my meet cute wasn’t a romance but instead it was with your mum, or how I know her, my good friend Lauren.

As I write this to you, I’ve known your mum for almost a decade. She was one of only a handful of good things that came from my teaching career. Your mum and I bonded over a shared love for animals, especially cats and possibly making fun of your dad. We also shared a specific outlook about things and would often come to very similar realisations about people, events and issues. We are also both incredibly impatient, but it was your mum that made me realise this isn’t always a bad thing.

what to say to a friend with cancer
"As I write this to you, I’ve known your mum for almost a decade." Image: Supplied.

For me, it was reassuring that someone as thoughtful, wise and generous as your mum would share these things in common with me and it was this that made me realise that she would be my good friend forever.

Despite moving away and no longer working together your mum always made effort to prioritise our friendship. She travelled to see me often, it was never too far or too much effort, she just did it. This is something I still see in your mum now. Only a few weeks ago she drove the hour and a half to take her grandmother back to her house and to take her grocery shopping, because she had been ill. After that she came to see me (and my goats). “It’s my turn to visit you,” she told me. Despite rounds of varying chemotherapy, operations and radiation, somehow it wasn’t fair for me to come and see her again, it was her turn.

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It has been just over a year since your mum was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer and told, that it had already spread to her bones. Before this diagnosis, looking in from the outside, it was as if your mum’s life was really just beginning. She had two young daughters who she adored and had so many plans for - insidious cancer was not a part of those plans, but it decided to weave its way into her life anyway. But for your mum this didn’t halt her journey, it just gave her a push and made her turn the speed dial up on life.

While actively fighting against this disease, your mum has travelled with you to Queensland to see the whales migrate, something she’d always wanted to do and it was everything she had wanted it to be. She bought her dream house where you will grow up and completed her family with your puppy brother and sister. Now in a couple of months she will marry your dad.

what to say to a friend with cancer
"I want you both to know, for me, this is why your Mum is one of a kind." Image: Supplied.

These actions sum up the main reason that your mum has changed me. Her vision and approach - that there are situations in life that can’t be controlled and that you need to just make the best out of what you have - has been such an incredibly powerful lesson to learn. She has shown me that taking your time with things is really just an excuse to sit on the fence and not make a decision and that really, it serves little purpose. She has shown me that as cliché as it might seem, life is short and making the most out of what you have is by far the most effective thing you can do. These lessons have flooded my mind and made me reflect on my own life in a way I had never done before. It has led me to make changes that before seemed too hard. I will be forever thankful for this.

I want you both to know, for me, this is why your mum is one of a kind. Your mother’s tenacity, strength and attitude are the reason she has impacted me and so many other people, and this will be an incredible part of the legacy she will leave that will be forever unrivalled.

Love always,

Aunty Shona

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