I’ve reached another milestone on my list

This entry was written by Lisa Marsella – mother of two – who is proud that she was able to see her son graduate from high school a few days ago:

living beyond breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer, stage 4

A proud Lisa Marsella (left) share a family photo with her son Rocco, her daugter, and her husband (far right).

This past Monday I spent most of the beautiful sunny summer day reflecting over the past 14 years. Why 14 you may ask? It was 14 years ago when I first walked my then 5 year old son into school for the first time.  I can still see him with his new school clothes, and his WWE backpack. His face holding an expression of a deer caught in the headlights. Monday, just like that sunny day in September 1997, is a very special day for both me and my son. Although both days are memorable they both were bittersweet. My son’s first day of school I felt guilty and sad. I remember turning back and smiling at him as I waved bye. But much to my awe and surprise he blew me a kiss, smiled and waved back to me and at that moment we both knew it would be okay. That was a test of our independence and resilience.  

Now here we are 4 schools and 14 years later and my boy is graduating high school.  Looking at him standing before me so handsome and tall in his cap and gown warmed my heart and certainly brought a rush of tears to my eyes. Gone is the scared little boy with the backpack and before me stood a confident and handsome young man wearing his cap, gown and sash. On this night, it was my son who smiled and waved as he marched with his class and I was the one looking back stunned and paralyzed by my love for him. But again, we both know it will all be okay.  What a relief I keep thinking; a relief that he made it through safely; a relief that he will be going to college in the fall; but mainly my relief is just being here – I am here to celebrate with him!

I am here to see him smile and nod as he takes his diploma and makes his way across the podium. I am here to see him celebrate and congratulate his childhood friends. I am here to see his class toss their caps and scream “Township Pride.” I am here to hug and kiss him and tell him how proud I am of the young man he has become. I am here to share all this with my husband, daughter and the rest of our family and friends.

Two years ago when my cancer metastasized to my lungs I thought this may not have been possible. I feared I would not be there at Rocco’s graduation. I worried and cried about how Roc would be able to get through it all and let me go.  But on Monday evening I sat there overjoyed, filled with love and pride and wandering how will I be able to let him go. In just two months he will be headed off to college; and he will be living in the dorm at Neumann University. Two years ago I hoped and prayed that I could reach this milestone and I believed that if I kept focused and stayed positive it was possible. My prayers were answered and I was there to celebrate my son’s graduation.

It gave me pause to think of the significance of graduations. They commemorate endings and beginnings – I guess that is what makes them so special and memorable. Graduates close a chapter and say “goodbye” to one part of their life as they open another chapter and welcome change with enthusiasm; oh their possibilities are endless! “Endless possibilities” is what came to my mind when all the pomp and circumstance were over. It reminded me that we all are blessed with endless possibilities. Now I call them milestones. Tonight I reached the first of many milestones I hope to reach. I have a list of them and I am going to stay focused on the possibilities and reach as many milestones as I can.

Do you, like Lisa Marsella, have a list of milestones that you want to see? Share your list with us and let us know how close you are to completing it! Comment here or on our Facebook page.

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