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In the Year 2017…

By Maria Montanile


I could have done without 2017. From beginning to end. My wonderful best friend, Teresa, succumbed to lymphoma in February. Her mother texted me, “Your best friend went to Heaven this morning.” This was around 7:25 am. I wanted to go be with the family, but knew they needed time to grieve, so I did not visit them that day. I am a teacher and I had an observation from an administrator that morning at 9:30 am. I considered rescheduling. How could I teach while crying? I did not cry for long though because this feeling of peace infiltrated my heart suddenly. I could still do this. I did not cancel. I was not nervous or insecure this time and that was very unusual for me. My administrator said I did a fantastic job teaching my small reading group. I have to thank Teresa for this one. Still helping me out.


Fast forward to June. I found out that I had DCIS breast cancer, stage 0. I was hysterical. I’m not supposed to get cancer. What made me so special? I got local radiation and a lumpectomy. That was it. I was extremely fortunate. In 2021, I ended up needing a mastectomy. Still stage 0, but it was all over the breast this time. I was still extremely fortunate.


Fast forward again to early November. My 93-year-old father died from lung cancer. He told me two months before he died that he had lived a good life. I told him about all of the things he had taught me, such as working hard for your family and being on time to work. In turn, he expressed the reasons he was proud of me. He took my hand and told me not to cry. He said that he would be okay.


That was the year 2017.








 


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