My daughter Emma was six years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I often saw her as my inspiration to do what I needed to do. I wanted to be here for her, to watch her get married, and to see her provide me some gorgeous grandbabies.
When she came into my bedroom crying the other night, I knew comfort is all that she needed. We cuddled in bed all night long. She often held onto me tightly, not wanting to let me go. At that point, I knew whatever she dreamt about scared her. Typically she falls back to sleep easily; that night was not the norm.
When morning came and it was time to prepare for the school day, Emma was still in a somber mood. After one of the longest hugs she has ever given me, I brought up her dream. She started to ask me about my cancer. What if it comes back? What if the next time you don’t make it through? What if I never get to see you again? This precious girl, who is soon to be nine, had the worst dream of her life. My cancer came back; I became so sick in her dream that I made the journey to Heaven. Devastation hit her hard. Tears began to flow for both of us while she was describing her dream.
Soon, I’ll be nearing the three year mark of when I started my diagnosis process. I have looked at my daughter as a source of strength for me. This time, I had to be her strength. How can one say, “Mommy will be here for a very long time,” when life could be taken away at any minute? Providing reassurance was difficult this time. I knew Emma wondered about our family history with cancer. In the last two years, three of us have been diagnosed with breast cancer. How could she not be concerned about it?
Even though I have been cancer free for over two years, I had a small sense of security when it came to my daughter. I felt she was comfortable with everything that we had to go through. I thought we talked through all of her concerns and was moving passed them. Apparently, I was wrong. I suppose when it comes to a young, impressionable mind, that fear and concern is not tucked as far away in the mind as I thought it to be. After all, I have my own fear about my cancer, I shouldn’t discount Emma’s either.
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