Back to the cancer diagnosis and it’s effects on my kids……
The cancer diagnosis and my treatment had many effects on our family. There were many difficult times…my kids hated when I was hundreds of miles away for surgery, but I wrote them and called them every day. They had to face at too early an age insecurities I never had to face as a child.
When I was a kid I was like most kids, my mom was the rock of my life, I never doubted for a second that my mom wouldn’t always be there. My kids did have to contemplate losing their mom at a very young age. It was tough, they were old enough to understand what was happening and how uncertain my future was. They did contemplate their mom dying and leaving them.
My youngest daughter had nightmares. She crawled into my bed in the middle of the night several times sobbing “Mom, I just dreamed you died”. I was glad she was able to talk to me about it, but it was so difficult trying to counsel her when I myself didn’t know how long I would live. I couldn’t promise her I wouldn’t die, because I didn’t know. I didn’t want to lie and promise her I would live forever, though I so wanted to reassure her.
My kids and I have had a lot of heart-to-heart talks over the past several years. We’ve talked about things most parents probably never talk to their kids about.
My kids were also able to talk to my husband’s mother, their grandmother. Their grandmother became their counselor and their confidant, I can never thank her enough for the emotional support she provided my kids. She was their rock when I couldn’t be. I will forever be grateful to her for that. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law had them over for weekends when I left town for check-ups, they kept them busy and made them feel special when I couldn’t. Teachers pulled them aside at school to talk to them and make sure they were alright. I received a lot of support from so many people, but the support I am most grateful for are the people who supported my kids.
In the end, the effects have only been positive. My husband and daughters and I don’t take the time we spend together for granted. As a family we’ve developed a much greater faith and dependence on God. We talk more, we share more, we appreciate each other more. We make sure to spend one-on-one quality time with each other whenever we can. We are very close, my kids talk to me about everything– things I know I never shared with my parents growing up. We all realize how short our time is on this earth and want to make a difference in this world while we are still here. And we all know death can only separate us from those we love for a short time.
I’ll be gone for three days beginning Monday. One of my daughters, who is 16 now, previously said that right before she got married she wanted she and I to spend time together in a fancy hotel with a spa. About 8 months ago she rethought that idea…why wait? She got a job and I worked some overtime so we could have the money to do it now instead. We leave Monday :-).