“My story matters because I matter.
I am absolutely ENOUGH.”
- Brene Brown
"The Gifts of Imperfection"
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Rebecca (Becky) Burns
My mom passed away unexpectedly from leukemia when I was 8 and my brother was 6.
We didn’t talk about her much and I didn’t feel like it was ok for me to be sad about her death. It felt like my life before my mom died was a fairytale that I was always trying to get back there, but couldn’t.
It wasn’t until I was diagnosed, at 37, with breast cancer that I finally started unpacking my grief. I had just finished treatment and was attending the funeral service of an acquaintance (she was also in her late 30s)who died from breast cancer. She had three small children, the oldest of which was 8. It just hit me so hard. I felt like my heart was breaking for those children, knowing what it was like to grow up without my mom.
I realized it was time to start healing. I searched the internet for books on grief for adults who suffered loss of a parent as a child, and quickly discovered that Hope Edelman’s book “Motherless Daughter’s” was the only one out there on the topic.
I can finally (usually) talk about my mom without crying, and I am slowly working through the “shame” of still grieving 34 years later. I feel like grief is more a “perpetual state of being” rather than a process to move through. I will ALWAYS be grieving for my mother and the relationship I missed out on. I will NEVER “be over it.”
I feel so blessed to be able to support other daughters moving through their grief.
Becky Burns has an MS in Chemistry and previously worked for 15 years as a Pharmaceutical Scientist. She is involved with PIVOT (Patients and Investigator Voices Organizing Together) as a Patient Cancer Research advocate and is a member of Hope Edelman’s AfterGrief Street Team. She lives in Lee’s Summit with her husband, daughter, and two dogs, Victoria and Lulu.
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