"Mom, I don't want you to die."
"I don't want to die, either. However, we both know that the breast cancer can't be cured. I hope I live a lot longer, but we just don't know. Right now, I'm hoping to live long enough to see you graduate from high school in 2020 and see you get started into college."
"But, Mom! That's not very long!"
The horror in his eyes was just that ... horrifying. He doesn't think about cancer much and because I live a highly functional life, it's really not at the forefront of his daily life. When confronted with the reality of the disease, though, it rattles him down to the soul of his being.
"I know, Michael, I know. We really don't have any control over it, though. All I can do is continue to pray and to continue to follow the treatment recommendations. You know I do a lot of reading and I keep up with everything that is happening in cancer land."
Michael was fixated on the time frame I gave him. "But, Mom! That's not very long! I mean, I'm graduating from high school tomorrow! You need to live longer than that!"
I kept my voice quiet and calm and agreed with him. I told him that this was merely a preliminary goal ... and that once that goal was met, I'd set new goals.
I didn't expect this conversation that morning when we got into the car to go to school. The bulk of it happened while we were parked beside the gate near the track and field. Michael got out of the car with a tear in his eye. He looked me straight on and said, "That's not very long."
I watched him as he walked towards his classroom, hands shoved into his pockets, most likely muttering to himself, "That's not very long." While man sized at nearly 5'11" tall, he is still maturing and at that moment, he was quite my little boy who used to grab my pinky finger and say, "Mommy, help me!"
I placed my head against the steering wheel and I cried.