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Communication can be healing for you and others

Q: Sara, I found out my mom has breast cancer. I am so afraid she is going to die. I can hardly concentrate on anything. I cry myself to sleep at night. My mom does not know any of this. I need your help please.

A: I am so sorry to hear that your mom has breast cancer. It must be a very sad and confusing time for you right now. I understand that. When I found out that my Dad had cancer everything changed for me.

I can remember staring blankly out of the window with a lot of thoughts racing through my mind. Things that had once seemed important to me now seemed petty compared to my Dad’s health. My mind was consumed with uncertainty.

I found it very hard to accept that my Dad having cancer was something that I couldn't fix or change. Helplessness filled my thoughts and hope became my best friend. It is amazing how life can throw us a curve ball when we least expect it.

At first I was afraid to talk to my Dad about his cancer. The word cancer meant so many scary things to me.

Finally, while sitting on the couch, I looked at him and said through my tears “I don't want you to die!”

He looked at me and responded with, “We’ve had lots of great years together - more than some people.”

I was a bit angered by his response because I wanted lots more time together. What we had didn’t seem like enough.

Since I couldn’t control how much time we had, I decided to start focusing on creating more memories instead of focusing on my fear of cancer taking him away from me.

Sometimes we take people for granted, but when we suddenly realize that they may be gone, appreciation comes back in full force! It took hearing the word ‘cancer’ to remind me of how important it is to appreciate one another.

My sister and I took every opportunity to be with our Dad. Whether it was to make a meal, go out for a drive or just be with him- it was very important to us. Time with him mattered even more than it had in the past.

Communication is very important. Talking with your mom about how you feel and listening to how she is feeling would be very healing for both of you.

I also find that keeping a journal is a great way to release bottled up thoughts and emotions. It has always helped clear my mind.

With everyone in your life, remember to appreciate and acknowledge what they mean to you because you never know when your circumstances can change.

Creating great memories doesn’t take forever but they do last forever.

Until next time...This has been 'my voice' but I respect this is your life - this is 'your choice'

P.S. If you are faced with a circumstance where you need help, one of the best UPower choices you can make is to Reach Out to your parents/adults, teachers, principals, counsellors, friends or Kids Help Phone to get the support you deserve.

Keep reaching out until someone listens.