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Cancer Takes Another Life

Cancer took another life this weekend. My mother, June Sievers, passed away on Saturday.

She had fought the disease for years, but in the end, it was just too much.

She died a few days before what would have been her 84th birthday. I know she must have been disappointed by one thing. My mother had a fierce will to live, and she was determined to outlive her own mother, also a cancer patient, who lived to be 94.

My mom endured her share of the pain cancer can bring. Surgeries, radiation, countless procedures. Through it all, she was always more worried about me and how I was feeling.

The only thing we really argued about was the guilt she felt for passing on the genetic predisposition for colon cancer. No matter how many times I told her that was ridiculous, wrong, just plain silly, she still thought that somehow my cancer was her fault.

It's impossible to sum up a life in so small a space. She loved spicy food, movies, mostly adventures or thrillers. And she loved to head out on the open road for a long drive. She loved our annual Halloween parties, coming one year dressed as "Leroy's Mom."

When I was young, I had a toy fire truck that actually sprayed water. She would make shoebox houses, set them on fire in the driveway, and let me put them out.

Some 40 years later, I wrote about that in the Nightline daily e-mail. She called me, worried that people might think she was a bad mother for letting me play with fire.

I thought long and hard about whether I should write anything in the blog about her. In the end, I didn't see how I could go without saying something about her life, and her death.

I think I probably learned how to fight this disease by watching her. What better gift could she have given me?

I will miss her.