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.
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.
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.