Cancer Turns Friends into Family

Cancer Turns Friends into Family

by Brittany Beals

A cancer diagnosis creates a ripple effect, which touches immediate family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.

This past year, my family and I experienced that ripple effect.

My best friend, Allison Lees, lost her mother, Robyn Lees, to colon cancer on October 17, 2010. The loss of her mother changed Allison’s life tremendously, reshaping her family’s relationships and dynamics.

Allison and her family knew that they were going to lose their mother at some point to the cancer that spread throughout her body. It just all depended on whether they could prepare themselves for the upsetting day.

As soon as the hospital told Allison’s family that they were going to allow their mother to come home, they knew that those words were not something they wanted to hear.

“Yes it was awesome that I could spend time with my mom at home, but it also just meant that she was going to be leaving us soon,” Allison said.

Allison wasn’t aware of how hard it would be for her and her mother to be in the same house. She usually would see her mom doing motherly things around the house. “It wasn’t the way I thought it would be, I never saw her, it just wasn’t the same as before.”

The only way Allison could see her own mother was to enter her mother’s bedroom and see her just lying there, barely able to speak to her own daughter.

Seeing her mom go through all this caused Allison not to want to live at home or spend time at home. So she lived at other people’s homes, such as friends and family.

“I just couldn’t deal with seeing her the way she was, and having to see her get worse and worse.”

Allison lived at my house with my family for a little while, and my mom considered her an adopted daughter.

While Allison was living with me, it made us closer, which made me more involved in her mom’s life and with everything that was going on.

The whole situation was impacting my family’s life and me more than we had anticipated.

Allison sometimes went through stages where she wouldn’t want to talk to anyone. She wanted to be alone, which was understandable. But we were all still there for her no matter what.

“Brittany and her family were like my second family, and they helped me stay on track and keep my mind off of things.”

When the day came that we all had to say goodbye, it was heartbreaking for everyone. But Allison would not be the person she is today without everything she went through. She is the strongest girl I have ever seen.

She knows she will see her mother again.

“She’s always watching over me, and I’ll see her again someday.”