Maybe if I continue to act like a child – the way I absolutely feel like acting right now – I can gloss over the terrible news that people keep trying to tell me.

She’s gone. My friend, Tammy, lost her daughter, Taylor, today. I’m closing my eyes. And shaking my head. Wiping away the tears that are streaming down my face. Because my friend lost her daughter. And I don’t know what to say or do. I don’t even want to hear it. I know I’m an adult. I know I should take this information with a bit more maturity than I’m currently exhibiting. But I’m not. I can’t. I won’t. I have mentally thrown myself on the floor and I am kicking and screaming because MY FRIEND LOST HER CHILD! My friend lost her child. I can say this sentence over and over, focusing the emphasis on a different word each time, and the sentence never changes. It continues to suck.

My friend lost her child!

My warped mind is thinking of the beautiful young girl with a quiet smile and dancing brown eyes, knowing that she was more of an adult in her too short of a life than I’m currently acting with all my 41 years of experience. I’m not rational. But clearly, cancer is not rational either. It’s supposed to attack the elderly who are ready to die. In my mind, an appropriate scenario for cancer to play would be as follows:  It shows up one day at the nursing home and says, “Oh. Hello there, Mildred. You’ve had a heck of a run, haven’t you, my dear? Well, now that you’ve loved and lived and aspired and achieved, it’s time to come with me. Close your eyes, Millie. Let me take over from here.” And Millie, surrounded by her children and grandchildren and memories of her 89 years usher her out to whatever is next. Sure, there were trials and tribulations along the way, but she never had to do anything horrific like bury a child. Overall, my protagonist had a pleasant life.

And putting the “making up crazy stories as a way to cope with my grief ” aside, I know that Taylor was extremely loved during her fourteen years, too. I’m sure she had family – maybe a friend or two – with her during her final hours, doing all they could to keep her as  comfortable as possible. Holding the hand that would never see an engagement ring. Kissing the lips that had most likely never known true love’s kiss. Gazing adoringly at her face, knowing that soon – too soon – she would be gone. Waiting. Breathlessly. For that moment she drew her last.

Oh, my dear, sweet Lord. My friend lost her child.

And this happened today.  A day that Ben and I were sitting in the very same hospital. On the same floor. Ben was getting his stem-cell “rescue”. We were right down the hall. And not that I could have done anything about it, but I hate knowing that this family was struggling right under my stupid nose. Too daft to recognize the swollen faces of the nursing staff – evidently distressed by what has to be a heartbreak that is all too common in their world. How do they NOT get attached to these children? How do they NOT mourn when one loses their battle? I knew something was up, but I was too lost in my own hooey. Too worried to see past my own situation. I didn’t reach out. I just didn’t know. I didn’t know.

I’ve been pulled out of my temper tantrum by my son running to the bathroom to  throw up. No doubt this nausea is an aftereffect of his therapy. He says his throat hurts, which means that the mouth sores are coming. Damn Cancer. You’ve had a busy day.

Rest your head on my shoulder, my sweet son. Let me comfort you. Pray over you. Love you. Maybe we can watch a silly kitty video on YouTube while we’re waiting for your pain medicine to kick in. Try to rest, little Bean. I can’t share this news with you tonight. I can’t burden you while you’re trying so hard to heal yourself. We can cry together later, when you’re stronger.

Although, I know he’s actually a lot stronger than he looks. He comes by it honestly, I guess.

Goodnight, Precious Taylor. Rest well.

Tammy Montelongo Rivera

Join the Conversation


  1. Devastating. My prayer go out to Tammy, Taylor’s friends and family, and, as always, to you and Ben. Val

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  2. Hi Sarah,

    Loved stumbling upon your site today. I have a 9 year old with severe autism who has just finished a year of treatment for Brain Cancer. You write well and you should try to get published. I know the rejection is difficult, but you should find a way to take the risks.
    The risks DO come with rewards. I was just rejected once last week then I continued trying and did find a place for my article. So many mothers and fathers could benefit from your insights.

    Best wishes,
    Lisa Crognale

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.


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