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The best story my mom ever told was about me at the age of four years old. It was my mom’s 27th birthday and also a family reunion where for the first time all of her siblings were together under the same roof with their father, my grandpa. My aunt from Texas, California, and Michigan were there along with my three uncles. My three cousins were there as well. My grandpa’s double wide trailer was full of laughing adults and children all there for a good time.

After eating spaghetti and watching my mom giggle a lot after a few drinks, it was time for the cake. Let me preface this by explaining how protective I was of my mom. I can remember from a young age being afraid that something bad would happen to her. I only got to see her every other weekend because my dad had custody of me and that’s how it was worked out in the courts. During the two weeks I didn’t see her, I just had it in my mind that something terrible was going to happen to her and I would never see her again.

Everyone huddled around the round table as the candles were lit on my mom’s white birthday cake. After she blew them out, someone took their finger and smeared white icing on my mom’s face. I immediately freaked out and started screaming bloody murder thinking someone had just mutilated my mom’s face. I can remember her taking me to the bathroom, sitting me on the sink as she washed her face off. The whole time she is laughing and cooing at me trying to calm me down. I remember her handing me seashell shaped soaps to look at as a distraction.

It’s funny how intuitive children are. I always thought something bad would happen to her. A few days after her 49th birthday she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, she passed away two months later. Something bad did happen to my mom just as I suspected.

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