This is a poem written by a mother of a child with a cancerous brain tumor. My heart hears these words and understands in ways that words fail.
I hope you never have to hear the words “Your child has cancer”.
I hope you never have to hear “The prognosis is not good”.
I hope you never have to watch your child prepare to undergo chemo, have a “port” surgically implanted in their chest, be connected to an IV pole, look at you with fear in their eyes and say, “Don’t worry Mom, it’s going to be okay.”
I hope you never have to hold your child while they vomit green bile.
I hope you never have to feed them ice chips for lunch.
I hope you never have to watch the “cure” you pray for slowly take away your child’s identity, as they, lose their hair, become skeletal, develop severe acne, become barely able to walk or move, and look at you with hope in their eyes and say, “It’s going to be okay Mom.”
I hope you never have to stay in the hospital for weeks at a time, where there is no privacy, sleeping on a slab, your face to the wall, where you cry in muffled silence.
I hope you never have to see a mother, alone, huddled in a dark hospital corridor crying quietly, after just being told “there’s nothing more we can do”.
I hope you never have to watch a family wandering aimlessly, minutes after their child’s body has been removed.
I hope you never have to use every bit of energy you have left, with all of this going on around you to remain positive, and the feelings of guilt, sorrow, hope, and fear overwhelm you.
I hope you never have to see your child’s head bolted to a table while they receive radiation.
I hope you never know what it is like to take you child home, (grateful but so afraid) in a wheelchair because the chemo has damaged their muscles, 35 pounds lighter, pale, bald, and scarred, And they look at you with faith in their eyes and say, “It’s going to be okay Mom.”
I hope you never have to face the few friends that have stuck by you and hear them say, “Thank God it’s all over” because you know it will never be over.
Your life becomes a whirl of doctors, blood tests, and MRI’s, and you try to get your life back to normal while living in mind-numbing fear that any one of these tests could result in hearing the dreaded words “The cancer has returned”.
And your friends become even fewer.
I hope you never have to experience any of these things. Because only then will you understand.
March 12, 2003 ©