How am I going to tell my children I have cancer? What do I do now?
Tell them when you are ready, tell them in small doses according to age, tell them the truth, but please, please tell them!
Your children “feel” when something is wrong. If you are talking quietly when they come in the room, and you put on a fake smile, they will know something is not right. They can see your red eyes. They can hear hushed phone conversations. And they often conclude they are somehow responsible. Give them the power of knowledge. Share this together. You will be grateful for what they can give to you as you battle the hardest experience in your life. Children are strong and resilient. They deserve to know.
Here is our story:
It was the beginning of the Christmas season when I found out I had cancer. Christmas was a big time for our family and an even bigger time for me, with expectations of creating the magical atmosphere I so loved. But I was instantly swept up by the numbing news, appointments and scheduling to prepare for major surgery 2 days before Christmas. I fervently wished the entire season would be skipped and I would wake up from this nightmare.
I remember the entire family was sitting in our boy’s room before bed. We were preparing to have family prayer together. My husband spoke. They were watching me very closely, as they were aware something was going on with me. My husband explained that the doctors found something inside me that did not look right. The doctors were concerned about it and felt it would be good if it was removed. My boys asked when. And we told them Dec. 23rd. We hugged them and told them all would be well. And that we would need some help from them during this busy time. We said our family prayer and I was blessed in that prayer and every prayer after that. It was empowering for the children to know what it was and that they were not responsible. I noticed a positive visible change in them after that night.
We did not feel that the word cancer was appropriate for this discussion. For this particular time and the ages present, that was enough. But that acknowledged the scary monster under the bed and opened up the opportunity to discuss it later in more depth.
CANCER was said later on. It is empowering when you finally can say it and get the monster out from hiding.
What do I do now? Say a silent prayer, go upstairs, sit on the bed, and tell them…
The next few posts will involve children and cancer.
FEAR: What if I am asked if I will die…what do I say? You will have to answer that in your own way but I said, No. I believe Hope is something to hold on to. Even those who may not make it, continue to have hope until the very end. You will live and continue to love them! Hold on to HOPE.