My mom told me she had breast cancer on a Facetime call. What started as a routine check-in turned into one of the most horrendous and surreal moments of my life with just one sentence: “So, I got some test results back…”
She explained that she’d gone in for her yearly, routine mammogram like she had done since she was 40, and after a couple more tests and then a biopsy of some breast tissue, the doctor told her that she had stage 2 invasive lobular carcinoma.
While I did my very best to keep it together on the call, the tears plummeted from my eyes as my mind burned from doing so much overtime work, trying to figure out what the hell was happening. You never think it’s going to be you or your mom or your family, but life will come by and say, “Nope! It’s you.”
I felt my world crumbling all around me.
I should preface that I was never one of those teenagers who “hated” their mom or was dying to get out of the house once they graduated and turned 18. I was the kid who had a mental breakdown the night before she left for college because the thought of leaving home and my parents was gut-wrenching. I knew I needed to leave the nest and fly, but oh my god, I did not want to.
As the youngest of three kids, I was constantly with my mom. She took me to all my siblings’ activities, sporting events, and games. I was strapped to her as an infant and never really stopped being attached to her. (Metaphorically, of course, let’s not get weird here.) As I grew up, I always liked being at home because my mom (and my dad — he’s cool too!) was there to hang with.
If I was ever going through a rough patch with friendships at school and just feeling totally alone or left out, I used to tell myself, “Hey, at least you have your family to be with on a Friday night.” Whether you think that’s pathetic or sweet is up to you, but to me, it meant everything.
Of course, we had our ups and downs and arguments during my adolescent years, but nothing was ever left unresolved. She was one of those moms that took ownership over her role in a disagreement, coming to me a few moments later after I slammed my bedroom door like any angsty teen does, apologizing for her part in it and ready to talk about whatever thing we’d be going on about. I knew I could always talk honestly about what was going on in my life with her. I never had to hide anything.
She made our home a safe space for difficult conversations. When I was in my first serious relationship, she told me that whenever I was ready to get on birth control that I could tell her, and we’d go together. So, that’s what we did — no questions asked.
Growing up, she told me I was beautiful, smart and funny, and worthy every single day. She still does.
My mom is one of the most selfless people to ever walk the planet, and I still need her every single day. I need her advice. I need her help. I need her comfort. So when cancer threatened to take all that away — I was petrified.
I was also very angry. How dare the universe bestow this horrible sickness onto such a wonderful person. It just didn’t seem fair at all. Thankfully, her prognosis looks very good, and she’s almost done with her treatment.
Even though I am a mom now and responsible for the life of another tiny human, I still need my own mom — maybe even more than ever.
I am 33 years old, and I still rely on her. Not just for practical stuff like picking up my daughter from school or grabbing something at the grocery store if she’s out and about, but for her friendship and her warm nature, and her sense of humor when I’m feeling down. I still need her love because it’s one of the most real and unconditional I have ever had in my entire life. I still need so much from her, and I am not ashamed to admit that.
Katie Garrity is a contributing Scary Mommy writer covering media pertaining to parenting, celebrity, and viral moments.
She has written content for Distractify and Cuteness as well as personal essays for Thought Catalog and Clean Plates. She has a degree in English from North Central College.
In her free time, she’s hanging with her 3-year-old and husband, planning their next family trip, and watching restocking videos on TikTok.