I was 13 when a friend of the family told my mom she had cancer. I remember her look, my look, my fear, and a deep sadness overcame me. It was the saddest summer I ever experienced. I recall sitting on my back porch and not talking to anyone. I think it's when I first grasped the idea of mortality.
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My mom lost her brother when he was 46. It was a boating accident in Alaska. I was 29 and not one of us was prepared for his sudden death.
But I'll still never forget when a dear friend told us she had cancer.
Despair was my feeling.