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Briana, 30, Kansas City, Missouri

Everyone loved Mom. She was the fun, hip, beautiful woman. She had a smile that warmed your heart, a love that encompassed you, a laugh that filled the room, a courageous, beautiful spirit. I had just graduated from college when I [learned] that Mom had breast cancer. She was going to be fine. Other people died from cancer, but [not Mom.] I believed this and prayed like crazy. I was sure that someone was listening.

[The] cancer spread to her lungs. [During] long stays at the hospital, I [would] look at her thinking how could God do to this wonderful person? [When] she told me that she could not fight anymore, I laid my head in her lap and bawled like I have never cried before. What did my mom do? She comforted me! She stroked my hair and told me it would be okay. I hated God for doing this to us. She passed away later that month.

[A few years have passed and] I find myself talking to God …so I know he is back. I have forgiven him. I have also forgiven myself for my immature, selfish behavior [while Mom was ill]. My own forgiveness [was] one of my bigger struggles after Mom's death. In hindsight, it was in vain, because I know Mom…and I know I had already been forgiven.
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