How I Lost My Mom To Cancer (Guest Post by Taryn Bornman)

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People like to mask their hardships; especially if they are in the professional world. I experience complete amazement when I witness how people I know often feel the need to appear perfectly fine in public (when I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are going through hectic life battles).

Then I realize, are we not all going through hardships? I am willing to bet my money that even if only once, you have probably encountered many waiters, doctors, financial advisors, nurses, teachers, etc. who were going through the most horrible time imaginable, yet they put on a happy face and served nevertheless.

My point is that everyone goes through hardships and I am not unique in that way. As you read this post, you might be facing some very scary giants. I hope my testimony encourages you, and please know that God is with you in whatever it is you are facing.

I was raised by two loving parents – and I had a particularly strong bond with my mother, Malinda. People always mistook us to be sisters, which she loved of course. She was such a youthful, fun and caring mother who always bent over backwards to support and love her family. My friends saw her as their own mother, as she always extended a helping hand when they needed someone to confide in.

But that all ended when cancer came in the picture. I will never forget it. I was 18 years old when I went to the doctor with her to do some tests, as she felt a lump near her stomach. She was diagnosed with an aggressive ovarian cancer on that day and passed away 2 months later.

“Wow that happened so fast!” People always give me this type of response when I tell them this story. The thing is, those two months felt like two years of complete torture. At times, my mom’s condition deteriorated by the hour. The cancer had caused a block in her intestines so she could not eat or drink anything. Basically, she starved to death. As if that was not bad enough, the cancer started affecting her lymph system and the whole left side of her body swell up. She looked deformed. I will spare you of the more gruesome details.

I had to witness my loving, caring mother die in the most excruciating way possible and I could not do a thing about it. All I could do is just watch. It felt like I was witnessing someone murder my mother in front of me, but my hands were tied and I could not help her. It was torture.

You are probably wondering if we prayed? We did. A lot! I actually firmly believed my mom was going to make it. But the problem is she didn’t. After some time of excruciating pain, my mom wanted to go home to Jesus; He accepted her with loving arms I am sure. I love God and I am not mad at Him for this experience. I may lack understanding concerning why my mom was taken in such a cruel way, but I love God and He still carries me through the mess of making amends with the fact that she is not here anymore.

My mom cannot be at my wedding one day as I dreamed she would be. She did not witness me obtaining my first degree and she won’t be at my graduation this coming April. It hurts. A while after my mom passed I went through quite the emotionally unstable phase. I longed for the love and support I had lost through her death. I started distancing myself from people, only seeing a few close friends. I also started distancing myself from God and tried to “fix” my pain.

I obviously did not get anywhere with that attitude and it took some more difficult experiences for me to finally reunite with God and to trust Him. Only three years after my mom’s passing, I had a cancer scare. I had incredible abdominal pain and because of what happened to my mother our doctor sent me for tests immediately. For a whole month I started experiencing the same symptoms my mom had experienced upon being diagnosed with cancer.

I looked anorexic in a matter of weeks as I could not eat anything. Everything was like an exact copy of what happened to her, except for dealing with the disease as I was medically cleared eventually. It ended up being a tear in my stomach and colon problems. Even though I ended up not having cancer, this experience scared the hell out of me, but that was surprisingly not the worst part of the experience.

Nobody was there for me except my dad. This was the most horrifying part of the whole health scare. My close friends were so consumed with their own problems that they could not support me at all and when I confronted them about it they would get extremely angry and point out that I am bringing this illness on myself and that my fear of cancer is causing everything.

I did not receive a phone call, text message – NOTHING. I was forced to cope alone. But that is where I found God again. He came through in amazing ways and provided comfort through strangers who offered a helping hand. God blessed me with new friends during that time. Most importantly I learned how to trust God again.

It’s still something I struggle with, but I’m definitely better and I trust Him now more than ever. It taught me to find peace with God in the eye of the storm – the storm is hectic but at the center of the storm there is an extreme calmness and quiet where God meets you in the midst of chaos. It also taught me the concept of unconditional love –  loving people even when it seems as if they don’t give a hoot about you.

I had to forgive quite a few people afterwards but because God taught me what unconditional love is, it was so much easier this time around. He reminded me how He had nails driven into his wrists by people who openly hated Him, yet He openly forgave and loved them. He washed His disciples’ feet and He served.

Even though He is God, He chose to put our needs above His own. Even though they hated Him, He still fought for their salvation. First Corinthians 13:1-4 perfectly defines this love. Case in short – life sucks sometimes. People are not always there, but God’s love can pull us through the difficult times.

After everything I have been through, God opened my eyes to what life is all about – love. Love conquers all sin. Love frees you. Love will give you peace, especially God’s love. So I challenge you to love on the people who hate you. I guarantee you will experience peace and you will change their hearts in this way.

To listen to the song I wrote and recorded for my mom:

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Taryn Bornman is  currently a post grad marketing management student at the University of Pretoria located in South Africa. She obtains a Bachelors of Commerce Degree in Marketing Management. Taryn was born in South Africa, but calls America her home. Her passions are God and singing. She is currently in the process of constructing a demo. Taryn enjoys fitness and living a holistic lifestyle. She is currently a Marketing Consultant for ALT MED CARE Clinic in Pretoria East, South Africa. Follow Taryn’s blog at

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