She made me strong. She showed me love. I don’t know exactly how, but she did. Maybe it’s because I saw her go through more than one perfect soul should have to go through in a lifetime. A short lifetime. Cancer is a killer, but it took a long time to take her. She was too precious, and I loved her–no, I love her, still, with all my heart. She stays alive within me. When I am going through a tough time I just think of her, she is there when I catch the subtle smell of the perfume she used to wear in the air.

I remember when she would sit me down and make me eat vegetables. She knew I didn’t like them and she couldn’t stand to see me squirm, but she would place the bowl in the palm of her hand and wrap her small fingers around the fork and beg me.

She showed me love, and made me strong by making me eat peas and broccoli.

She would make carrot cake every time I visited. She knew I loved the smell. I’d walk into the kitchen and she would smile, her cheeks blushed from the heat of the oven. 

Then she would grab my face and rub her little nose against mine. I felt her love through Eskimo kisses. 

I would cry for my mom some nights and she would climb into my bed smelling of Vicks and soothe me to sleep. She made me strong by letting me cry.

She was always in and out of sickness, but never down. In and out of treatment, but never in pain. In and out of my life, but never out of reach. She made me strong by being alive. Somehow, after years and years, cancer finally found a way to take her. I didn’t know. She didn’t tell me. She just died. She made me strong by not saying goodbye. She showed me love through Eskimo kisses.

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