May 13th, 2017
| Caregiver: Soft Tissue Sarcoma
This is for the mothers across the world whose lives forever changed because of cancer.
This is for the moms punched in the gut with the words, “your child has cancer.” For the sleepless nights watching them breathe, hoping they will wake again. For the tears held back as your child is poked with needles and pumped with poison to kill the monster that dared threaten your baby. For your trust in doctors you barely know to cut open your child’s body. For the strength you fake so your child feels safe, even when your heart feels broken and uncertain. This is for the moms who long to trade with your children to spare their suffering.
This is for the moms with gaping holes in your hearts because your babies were taken too soon. For the missed birthday parties, the empty seat at the table, and the silence once filled with laughter. For the memories of bedtime kisses that only hurt more as they fade. For the graduations, weddings, and new grandchildren that will never be. This is for the moms who anxiously wait to hear your child’s voice again exclaim, “I love you, Mom!”
This is for the moms with grown children battling cancer from a distance. For the tears shed and the prayers cried for the adult that’s still your baby. For the hours by the phone, waiting for updates and wanting to drop everything to be with them. For the balance of trust and support, believing in their strength, but knowing they still need their mama. This is for the moms who lose sleep over the child you can no longer protect from pain.
This is for the moms who fight for your children by fighting for your own lives. For the pain of knowing that cancer hurts your family as much as it hurts you. For the questions of which details to share and which to spare. For the soccer games, dance recitals, and parent-teacher conferences that you miss because of cancer. For the tears when your child calls your bald head beautiful and says they will be strong for you. This is for the moms whose hearts ache wondering how much of your children’s lives you might miss.
This is for the moms tackling parental duties alone while supporting husbands with cancer. For the nights your children cry because Daddy’s at the hospital, and he’s the one who tells bedtime stories just right. For the tear-stained faces in showers, when you finally don’t need to be strong. For the heartache of wondering if you will walk your child down the aisle, because Daddy might not make it. This is for the moms providing strength to the family despite the deep pain of watching your soulmate suffer.
This is for the moms left widows because of cancer. For dragging yourself out of bed on lonely mornings to feed your children breakfast. For the hairs pulled out when they never listen the way they listened to their father. For the tears you wipe as your sweet children mourn at their Daddy’s graveside. This is for the moms who push forward for your children despite empty hearts.
This is for the women not considered moms, because cancer stole that opportunity. For the bodies left infertile from the ravages of cancer and chemotherapy. For the pain of holding another mom’s baby when you cannot have your own. For the nursery never to be decorated, the toybox never to be filled, and the child never to be held. This is for the women pursuing motherhood vicariously as aunts, godmothers, teachers, and friends.
This is for the moms caring for cancer patients, even when it’s someone else’s child. For the women who provide meals, rides, babysitting, cleaning, or company. For acting as a mother when another one is needed, because it truly takes a village to care for a cancer patient. This is for the moms who show up, because your heart hurts for anyone suffering.
Cancer moms: you are loved. Your efforts make a difference. You are changing the world with your love, kindness, and perseverance. We need you, cancer moms! Thanks for everything you do.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms affected by cancer. You are not alone.
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Julieann is a 26-year-old chemist and mom living in Salt Lake City. Her husband, Ken, was diagnosed with mesenchymal chondrosarcoma in early 2016. Her blog, contemplatingcancer.com, examines life through the lens of an aggressive cancer diagnosis.