To the mom whose child just received a cancer diagnosis is a heartfelt letter published on The Mighty. This insightful piece was written by Pauline Grady, whose son Sam is about to end his cancer treatment who says she is feeling lost.
“I started thinking about the different emotions I’ve felt since the beginning,” she explains. “How lost I was at the beginning, how I felt I’d found a side of myself I never knew existed and how I’m now feeling lost again. Lost, found, lost.”
Pauline begins her letter “Dear New Cancer Mom” as she reaches out to all the mothers whose children have received a cancer diagnosis. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry you’re part of this group,” she says. “I’m sorry you now have the title of cancer mom. Your life has changed. In one split second your world just fell apart.”
Pauline’s warm and honest advice is invaluable and comforting. Her words of wisdom include:
- Allow yourself to cry; it will make you feel better.
- The fog will lift, I promise.
- Stay positive because things do get better, but be a realist, too.
- Document your journey, whether it be a journal, a blog, pictures or videos.
- There are people who will support you the entire time, and others who just can’t keep up.
- If you have a spouse, spend alone time with him or her as much as possible.
- Swallow your pride and ask for help when needed.
- If the opportunity arises, take sometime for yourself.
Pauline ends her letter with:
“Regardless of the type of cancer, the experience is long and difficult. Regardless of what others say, this will be a part of your life forever. Once a cancer mom, always a cancer mom. Hang in there. Keep moving forward. Head up, chin up.”