Life Changing Moments

After my dad accepted his life was coming to an end, he was fighting just to see my sister and I graduate. He told his oncologist to do whatever it takes to keep him alive until June 20, 2013 (the day of my graduation). Four days after my dad passed away my sister graduated from The George Washington University. Five weeks after he passed away I graduated high school. It was one of the hardest days of those 5 weeks. As I was walking across the stage receiving my diploma, the superintendent of the school district shook my hand and said, “Your dad is so proud of you.” Walking down from the stage tears started falling from my eyes. Despite the high number of family members and friends that came to see me graduate, the only person I really wanted there was my father. At that moment, it hit me. I’m not going to have my dad at my college graduation, my wedding, the birth of my children, and so much more. I also realized he will always be with me-my dad will be in my heart even if he’s not physically there.

If you are in the sad situation where your parent’s life is coming to an end or you lost a parent due to cancer at a young age, know that your parent wanted to be at every single life changing moment. Whether it’s your first day of preschool or your first day of your new job, make sure to keep your parent in your heart. It’s going to be hard doing so many things without them, but it will have to become a new norm. Appreciate your loved ones while you can and make as many memories as possible because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I hope you find a way to get through events of your life while dealing with the hardships of the “C word”.

Giving Back to the Community

Cancer is a scary word. It’s even scarier when it’s in your life and effecting your parent in the most negative way possible. One month after my dad was diagnosed with fourth stage cancer, I started a Relay for Life team for the youth of my city. I educated others on cancer (specifically Colon) and healthy diets as well as fundraised for American Cancer Society. Years later, I am still involved and always will be.

To cope with having a sick parent, it may help to give back to the community. Get involved in community walks, like Relay for Life. One could even start a club or team at their school. There is so much someone could do to help change the life of cancer patients and their families. You could volunteer at a hospital, sell your art work and donate the money to a cancer research lab, or just spread the word about the importance of doctor visits and screenings.

To get involved with Relay for Life visit:

http://www.relayforlife.org/?gclid=CJT3hYux7rgCFRDZQgod4BcASg

Friends

Most of your friends won’t understand what you’re going through. This is a unique situation and majority of kids and teenagers don’t know how to respond to your feelings.

All of your friends will be there in the beginning. Be prepared for people to stop showing that they care. Your friends will always care, but they just may not show it as much. It’s natural for your friends to carry on with their lives.

All of my friends were there for me right when my dad was diagnosed with cancer and when he passed away. As time went on, people stopped showing that they cared and got so involved in their petty problems. The harder part of finding out your parent has cancer is when the chemotherapy kicks in and you see the negative changes of the person who brought you into this world. Yes, the news is petrifying but you have all the support at that time. When it gets really tough, most people have forgotten what you’re going through. Losing a parent is probably one of the hardest things to overcome. At first you don’t realize what’s going on and it hasn’t hit you yet. That’s when every single person is there for you. But when it does hit you, only a few people will still be there. I’m thankful for the friends that still go out of their way to do nice things for me during such a hard time of my life as well those who cared about my dad’s health the full two years he was sick.  People will complain to you about trivial and insignificant problems in their life. If you experience this, don’t take it too hard- most of your friends won’t understand what’s going on in your parent’s body. In honest truth, it broke my heart when my friends were being unsupportive. I was shocked to see those who never even bothered reaching out to me.  I never really told anyone how much pain I was really in for the past two years, so maybe that was my fault. You do have the right to be mad or disappointed in your friends; you are going through something extremely hard and life changing and all the support helps.

Remember to communicate with your friends. If you need something, don’t be afraid to ask. If you don’t like something they did, tell them. If they hurt your feelings or offended you in anyway, let them know. It’s a two way street with your friends, so make sure you are reaching out to them as well. Your friends also don’t know how to react to such horrific news so cut them some slack- not too much though.