My mom died on April 19th 2020 at only 50 years old. She had cancer that metastasized to her lungs. I’m 25 so this year I told her I had officially known her for half of her life. She absolutely loved that little fact and would share it with others sometimes. We were incredibly close as she was a single mom to two girls close in age. My moms battle with cancer was absolutely grueling and traumatic. She was diagnosed with stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma in January of this year. The tumor was on the base of her tongue and extended back into her throat. She did two rounds of chemotherapy(should of been 3 but her body was too weak to receive the last round of chemo). She also had surgery to remove the tumor March 25th 2020. This required them to remove my moms entire tongue as well as a portion of her throat.. not to mention this was when the pandemic started so my sister(who was actually 8 months pregnant at the time just to add another layer) and I weren’t able to be up there with her up at all. I remember dropping my mom off at the hospital on March 20th for surgery and they actually instructed me to leave the hospital as soon as I walked in because they were only allowing one person with a patient and my sister went though the check in process with her since she is a lot better about talking to people and getting things done(I’ve had pretty bad social anxiety my whole and I knew my sister was more equipped to speak with medical staff) So I kissed my mom on the head and told her I loved her so much. Afterwards I took my sister back home(we actually all lived 3 1/2 hours away from the hospital) because she had a drs appointment. I planned to go back to the hospital to be with my mom after I dropped my sister back at home. But pretty much the next day the hospital changed the visitation policy and they prohibited any and all visitors. My mom was unable to speak, eat, or use the restroom on her own. My mom had a tracheotomy and a feeding tube(which was replaced 3 times since February.. her poor body was being dissected every at every turn...) She was voiceless and I wasn’t there to be her advocate. She was all alone in the hospital for a whole month.. she was angry and anxious at times but still had glimpses of hope.. One time even said she was going to leave against medical advice and how can I blame her?! She was going through so much pain and misery with no one to turn to.. I carry so much guilt that I should of tried harder to get down there sooner.. I would check the hospitals website multiple times a day to see if they had made any changes to the policy that prohibited visitors. I would text my mom daily, send her videos and offer to take her on virtual walks with me.. but none of that was enough and rightfully so.. It wasn’t until April 17th that the hospital finally let me visit her. However when I was on my way to the hospital I had no clue I would be leaving without my mom. I literally went to the hospital to pick her up so she could come back home to receive treatment. I still remember walking into the room and seeing my mom for the first time since surgery. She was SO excited I was there. She would point at me and gesture with excitement every time one of her nurses or doctors walked in. I didn’t feel worthy of that praise though because I was the one who left her there all alone. I know I shouldn’t blame myself because all of this was out of my control.. but it’s really hard not to think about the “should of” in this situation. One thing bringing a bit of light to this situation is that she is not longer suffering and she’s in the arms of her mom and brother up in heaven. I’m also grateful that my sister and I were able to hold her hand and reassure her during her final moments.. My mom went though a lot in her life including the death of her youngest brother at the hands of my father and the death of her own mother in Dec 2018 after a 5 year battle with colon cancer. She was a fighter for sure. The first page of her notebook that she started writing in after she was diagnosed with cancer reads “I love life.” She had so much fight in her and it pains my soul so much that she was taken away from us. She won’t even get to meet her very first grandbaby... I keep my chin up most days because I inherited her strength and resilience. But some days the guilt and sadness of losing my mom takes over and I can’t get my head right. I’m sorry this is so long. I haven’t written about the loss of my mom in full detail until now. I just hope she knows how much I love her and how badly I wanted to be by her side during all of this..