(photo courtesy of @kyrani of Klik Photographic)
[Dear] Mothers with cancer…
You may feel confusion knowing you worked so damn hard to have your babies, only to be told this stupid cancer would likely rip you away from them before their young minds could form a real memory of you.
You may feel shame when you crumble in front of them and see the worried look in their eyes as they watch their momma cry uncontrollably but know they will always forgive you and you will see their hearts grow.
You may get angry knowing these beautiful beings will never know a life without cancer and you may harbour guilt that their father married a woman whose genetic makeup she passed on to their sons will linger forever.
You may try to hide your cancer from your babies, only to realize the more you hide the more fear and confusion they will have.
In your darkest days you may convince yourself that being gone from them sooner than later would be best. This of course only clouds the fear that thrusts itself at you each and every day at the thought of no one ever being able to love them like you do. That no one could possibly know what they need like you.
You may painstakingly try to plan what their lives will be like without you, forever drawing the perfect picture in your mind of how great things could still be for them.
You may agonize over ensuring your times spent together will create memories for them to remember that you think may suffice in your absence.
You may welcome the quiet acceptance you feel while picking apart a song you hear only to realize you are thinking it would be quite nice for your funeral one day. Yes, it’s a good selection and you should remember to tell your husband. And don’t forget to tell him the photo you would use or the outfit you would be laid to rest in….
You may obsessively cling to every milestone and holiday, ensuring each and every photo being taken is perfect because the thought of these times with them not returning next year is overwhelming and very real to you.
Then amongst these moments you somehow find hope, and not just the word but real, fear lifting hope. The kind that lets you believe you COULD be the exception.
My greatest fear became my reality when my cancer returned and so many times during treatment I didn’t think I had the strength to stomach another pill, let alone another day. My body withered and became unrecognizable to me. My mind just felt numb and I cried alone, a lot.
I look back on that time now in amazement of where I drew strength and realize it always came from the sounds of my babies waking each day. I knew each day that I woke that my boys couldn’t possibly comprehend what was happening to me and they just needed help finding socks or the perfect cheerio to milk ratio that only their momma knew. I would get up off the floor, wipe my tears and calm my fears and I would keep going because in those moments I could see that as much as I gave them life, they would inevitably give it back to me, my boys needed me and I needed them.
I will never feel grateful for cancer but I am forever grateful to have been diagnosed with cancer after becoming a mother. I have no doubt that I am here today because of my boys and my determination to be here for them. I will forever have them to thank and each day I wake to hear them I know I can survive one more day.
This diary entry has been submitted anonymously by a mama who is battling the effects of cancer who wishes to bring hope to another mama going through a similar journey. Huge thanks to this incredible soul for being brave enough to share a piece of her story and dedicate a letter to someone needing to read this, somewhere.
Feel free to comment below to support anyone who might be reading this and needing some light... right about now.
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