Breast Cancer Has Taught Me to Enjoy Milestone Moments

Beth Brophy Health Guide
  • I don’t remember feeling this way before my breast cancer experience, but milestone events are a lot more important to me than they used to be. I wonder sometimes if I feel so grateful to experience special occasions because I spent a lot of time vividly imagining that I wouldn’t be around to see them. For example, my older daughter graduated from high school a few weeks ago, which was a really big deal for me, as well as for my daughter, and her friends and classmates.

    I’m sure I wasn’t the only parent in the auditorium choked up as the smiling kids, looking especially happy and well-scrubbed, marched up to the stage in their blue and gold caps and gowns. There are so many reasons to feel happy and sad at the same time. Happy, because in a few months your baby is leaving home, to start a new, independent chapter of life. And sad, because, in a few months your baby is leaving home, to start a new independent chapter of life. Graduation is one of life’s great moments, though, and I was savoring every second of it.
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    I also remember that after my diagnosis, when I was convinced my days, or at least my years, were numbered, I tried to bargain with the higher powers to at least let me live long enough for my children to finish high school. At the time, that seemed like a good milestone of almost adulthood for them. Of course, now that my older daughter has reached that milestone, I see how deluded I was. It wouldn’t have been nearly enough time to finish my job as mother. But then I guess it never is. That’s the thing about milestones. As soon as you reach one, you realize it’s not enough and you want to be there for the next one, and the next one, and so on. In fact, maybe the whole point of milestone events is to take a moment, appreciate it, and realize how immensely gratifying it is to be still here, and healthy, and able to have these thoughts.

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Published On: June 16, 2006