This is Maria. She’s a wife. A mother of two young children – seven year old Gabriel and five year old Evelin. And last year she was given about 6 months to live after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
Since then, she’s gone through multiple rounds of chemo. She’s lost 70 lbs. And she’s continued to be a wife and a mother through it all because she is a wife and a mother and that is what we do. And a part of that role, for all of them, is making memories that will last longer than a lifetime.
Which is what leads us to here.
She reached out to my friend Rachel, a travel agent, about planning a trip to Walt Disney World. And Rachel reached out to me to see what we might be able to do to make their trip that much more special. And all that I could think of was this. To capture their time together so that years from now her children would have this memory.
When I made this offer I had no idea who Maria was. I didn’t know that she was this beautiful or this open or that we would end up spending hours on the phone talking about what she’s going through or her daughter’s wedding or her happiness over reconciling with her father. I didn’t know she’d give me new perspective on how I was living my own life or that I’d want nothing more than to add some positivity to what was left of hers.
Maria says that the universe or God or her guardian angel or whatever you want to name it has always answered her and that now, in the midst of all this, she is just trying to figure out how to formulate a request to live. We don’t know if that means beating cancer or just living her best life for as long as she is able – but whatever it is I’m so grateful that I was somehow allowed to be a part of it.
Here are some of the pictures that I took of her and her family while they were here. She confided after that this was one of the hardest things she’s ever done. Truth told I have no idea how she got through it. I don’t think I could have.
When my dad was fighting his losing battle against leukemia, I remember the feeling of impermanence. Not knowing if he’d live another hour or day or week or month. I was so hyper aware of his limited time with us. And one day, amidst all of that, one of my parents’ good friends who was perfectly healthy went to bed one night and didn’t wake up the next morning. And it was such a wake up call to the fact that none of us knows. Some of us have diagnoses that remind us to wake up every day and make the most of every minute that’s left. But every one of us should be living some form of that life.
I hope we all live long enough to experience the sort of love that’s in these pictures. And that we always keep in perspective that it’s all that really matters.
Thank you for taking a moment from your day to share in this with us.
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