The day after I found out I had cancer and the same day that I dreamed the idea of Little Pink Houses of Hope I had to tell my son I had cancer. But what very few people have heard is the story of Jake’s response. The majority of his response will remain private as a memory that only our family ever needs to remember and hold onto as we continue this journey. But there is a touching story that I was unfortunately reminded of today with the passing of Elizabeth Edwards.
When we told Jake that I had cancer, the one thing that we decided was that we were going to go through this battle together as a family- a team- we would all need each other to get through it. And of course, we were going to fight (a word used then, that I no longer like to use). During the course of the week I had all of the fears that you can imagine- the most important and scary was that I would die before I would ever have a chance to see my beautiful son grow up.
Throughout the week, I took time to read Elizabeth Edwards’ book Resilience that described her own journey through cancer and what her family went through. Her words struck a cord in my heart and the more that I read, the more strength, determination, and focus I got that I could survive- because surviving was about living. After many tears and wonderful insights, I got to the final page. When I turned the last page in huge red letters, Jake had written the word FIGHT – I love you MOM in big letters. This simple 5 letter message from my dear son, who was probably just as scared of losing me as I was of losing him, is the word that carried me through some dark times when chemotherapy seemed too hard.
And so today, my heart goes out to the family of Elizabeth Edwards- to her children who watched their mom FIGHT and win. She won because she lived! There are so many people who have lost people that they love to the terrible disease of breast cancer as well as many other types of cancer. It is not the number of years that you have but how you spend each day. Live each day to the fullest and celebrate the life that you are living!