When my mom was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer in March of 2015, I was in between jobs and living at home with my parents just outside of Phoenix.
As my mom began her battle, she kept on me about the ongoing job search and was ecstatic when I landed a job in Omaha that June.
Sure, she would miss my physical presence and the support I'd given her while taking her to chemo. We often sat side-by-side in recliners for those weekly treatments.
But she was proud of me for continuing my journalism career, and she seemed to know that even bigger things were on the horizon.
A few weeks after I settled in Omaha, my mom sent me a card in the mail.
She wrote a lengthy message telling me how much she loved me and thanked me for my encouragement at the beginning of her battle, but it was the opening of her card that stuck with me the most.
She mentioned that she had wanted to give me the card before I left, but was having trouble mustering the emotional strength to do so. It took me a whole week to build up to it, she wrote, and even then, two days to write it.
More than four years later, I have the same feeling for this article.
I've tried for more than a week to come up with the words to explain what Crucial Catch means to me. But like my mom, I am having trouble explaining my emotions.
My mom passed away in January after a nearly four-year battle with breast cancer.
Some days, it's hard to find the words to describe the sadness that consumes me. The thought of her not being at my upcoming July wedding, or eventually becoming a grandmother, a role she desperately wanted, is heartbreaking.
On all days, I'm filled with immense pride at the life she lived, as well as the strength and courage she showed in the final years of her life.
My mom will be at the forefront of my mind for Sunday's Crucial Catch game against the Eagles.
The annual initiative is one of the best things the NFL does.
It's always inspiring to see survivors, those fighting the disease and family members of those who have passed away on the field for the halftime show.
My mom was part of the Crucial Catch halftime show in 2016 at U.S. Bank Stadium, when the Vikings topped the Texans in my first full season with the team.
She was so proud to march in her pink T-shirt and stand with everyone else who has been impacted by cancer.
I miss my mom more than words can say, but I know she'll always be with me as I continue on this journey called life.
Just like that card she wrote me when I moved to Omaha. It sits on the nightstand next to my bed.