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Cancer, I hate you.

A word from Momma Bird: Cancer.

Grandpa and I.


I hated you the day when cancer came into my Grandpa’s life and I hated you even more when you took him from me. Weeks shy of my wedding day the day he was supposed to walk me down the aisle. The day that meant so much and was symbolic for the both of us.

It was not easy. We were given the diagnosis right before Easter and then he was gone on May 21st. How could the man that I had always seen as one of the strongest, most committed and caring people I know be taken so quickly and with barely any warning.

It still seems unreal when I realize that Grandpa has never actually met my kids in the physical nature. It doesn’t seem right. I know he is looking down on us, but what I wouldn’t give to hear his laugh and see his face.

No words needed.


Let it be known that this is a very abbreviated, short version of my Grandpa’s story and I will most definitely come back to it at a later date.

So yeah, F@#K you cancer!

Amanda bird


Disney, eighties, 1985

Disney trip with my Grandparents, Aunt Di and my brother, Matt. Somewhere around 1985.


You reached an all time low when you reared your ugly head yet again. My Aunt. Really?! This just cannot be. You just cannot be doing this to the only other person that has always been there for me since the beginning, or at least since the time that I have been able to accumulate memories. Right then and there, when she said those harsh words, I realized even more than ever before – I hate you.

I hate you with all that I am.

It was one of those days, not really a normal day because I had received some upsetting news about my own health, but a day.


I saw that I had missed a call from my Aunt. I admit, I wasn’t planning on listening to the message until the next morning because I was getting ready to go out for Shannon’s work party. Wasn’t even going to put forth the energy to get ready, hell, I think I had cried enough to scare people away. But, we decided we needed to get out and take advantage of having a semi- date night.

On the car ride there, I remembered the missed call from my Aunt and something inside me told me to listen to her message. Call it instinct, call it psychic abilities, I don’t flipping know. I just knew something was not right.

I listened to her message and she sounded pretty serious…

1980s

Gotta love the 80s.


“Call me as soon as you can, it’s important.”

Not something that she would normally say. In my head I was trying to justify it as something like her needing help with college paperwork for my cousin or something of that nature. Still, my head and my heart were telling me to call her. Seconds into the conversation, I knew something was up. She was not as talkative as she normally would be with me and I was just waiting.

“I don’t want to ruin your day,” was how it began.

She knew we were on our way to Shannon’s work shindig/party/call it what you will. My selfishly lame response was,

“No problem, my day has already been ruined with my shitty ass news,” or so I had thought. Things were about to get a hell of a lot worse, and really put my “shitty ass news” into perspective.


“I had another abnormal mammogram and it’s breast cancer.” (Silence. What do you even say to that?)

Wait…did I just hear her right? This can’t be.

“They also found a mass on my liver and they are checking me for liver cancer.”

This cannot be right. Take a deep breath, but silently so she doesn’t hear you struggling. Maybe if you listen harder, she will clear it all up and you just heard her wrong.

I really can’t say that I heard all the details of what she was telling me or that I can even retell them in the right chronological order. I kind of felt like my head was not attached to my body and it was all a haze.


This is not something that happens in our family, it’s not. Right?

I mean, she only has a glass of wine on occasion, maybe an occasional McDonald’s trip, but honestly, she is doing a hell of a lot better than most people I know. Myself, included.  We won’t talk about my stash of wine corks, just aching to be used for one of those suburban mom ” I drink a lot, but in a retro, less harmful way” letter crafts.

I remember her saying that she was scared and I could hear the tears in her voice. My Aunt is not a person that normally cries; she’s not like me. I don’t even remember what I said. Part of me was pulling towards getting off the phone as soon as I could so that I could just lose it and bawl my eyes out without her hearing, but the other part of me wanted to make sure that I kept her on the phone as long as she needed. I wanted her to know how much I cared and I would listen as long as she needed me to. It was not a long conversation, but it was one that would be forever ingrained into my brain.

Once we got off the phone, I felt like my chest might explode. I needed to tell Shannon what was going on because he could definitely tell that it was not good. The other part of me just wanted to scream and cry and break something.


It’s so typical of life to make you realize how minute your problems are, when you set your problems next to huge life situations that you are not even sure how to tackle. Minutes before, I was down on myself, because of a possible health diagnosis I was given (future post). I felt defeated, I felt so much older than the 35 years I have lived thus far.

I did not even fathom that I would be receiving such a call from my Aunt that would change the course of most everything that would take place in our lives for the following months, to say the least. Some people, that don’t know my situation may think that I am being a bit dramatic.

I’m not. She is more to me than just an Aunt. My Aunt was and has always been, more like a Mother to me.

In the past weeks, since I have found out about her cancer diagnosis, so many memories have come flooding back to me. I can’t pretend that I have not been sad, regretful and mostly just angry.

I’m sad because I do not want her to go through this and how in the hell is this even the least bit fair. For as long as I can remember she has worked so hard for her family.

Spread the word…

I really don’t even know where to begin with the story. “Blogging” is all so new to me and I feel like I am just a giant jumble of thoughts, all tangled up, like those cheap plastic slinkies that can never seem to be untangled without being totally misshapen. Once it has all been unraveled, the kinks are still there, but you just want to throw it all away and be done with it. That’s kind of how I feel about my words when I try to put them on paper. I don’t even know how I could begin to tell you about my Aunt’s past and how hard she has had to work to keep her family afloat. I’m pretty sure that deserves a separate blog post, just to accentuate how much she has done over the years.


So for now, I will stay positive and I will stay strong, even when she is having a hard time finding that force in herself. I will be there for my cousins and my uncles and most of all for my aunt. Not sure where I will muster this strength, but with the power of prayer and faith, we will get through this.

I am scared what the next few months hold. It doesn’t take much to heighten my anxiety (thank goodness for good modern medicine and my doctors understanding the need for such in my life), but scared or not, here we go.

So this is just the beginning of my blog. Sometimes I will go in one direction and sometimes I will go in another, because that is really how my brain works and I’m okay with that. I hope you are, too, but if not, this may not be the blog for you. Cuz, I’m all over the damn place. Ask anyone!

We are in this together

Please, feel free to share your story. Have you been in a similar situation? I would love to hear about it, contact me, to know that I am not alone and how you got through it.  We all need to stick together. Don’t be afraid to be heard and talk about what tears at your heart-strings.

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