Wednesday, July 06, 2011


I do not make it a habit to respond to other people’s blog posts on my own blog, but today that habit ceases.

At Lisa Adams’ blog, she discusses a woman who did not tell her children she had cancer. Or a double mastectomy. Or underwent chemotherapy.


How can you keep a secret like that and still earn the trust of your children? They rely on us to tell the truth about their lives, their family, themselves. By lying to them about cancer, no matter how well intentioned, can bring about a whole host of nasty consequences.

In my own life, I have a tale of two families that faced a grim cancer diagnosis. One was my own family, the other some neighbors. Both my stepfather and the mother of this family were diagnosed with inoperable cancers within a few months of each other. At the time, their youngest children were both 4. My dad had colon cancer that had already mestatized by the time of diagnosis; it was the same kind of colon cancer that Katie Couric’s husband had-they were both the same age and battling it at the same time-and died within weeks of each other. The other mom, Sandy, had an inoperable brain tumor that slowly robbed her of function and cognition.

My parents made a definitive choice: they were going to be open and upfront about the cancer and not hide anything from the Princess. She deserved the truth, and despite how bad it was, she deserved to make the most of the precious little time she had left with her dad.

Sandy and her family hid her disease from her children. She went out of town for treatment. They never saw her change from the chemo-the bloat, the baldness, the sickness from it all. It was all well intentioned, but the fact that they didn’t think the kids should stay in the kitchen and deal with the heat, undermined in my opinion, their family. I really didn’t know them outside of the fact that they were my parents’ neighbors, and that the Princess and this other little boy were the same age and went to the same school. I don’t know much about how the family coped with the disease and what lead to what I think is the ultimate betrayal by a parent.

They never got to say good bye to their mother.

As time has marched on, I don’t know what happened to those kids. I only hope that they have grown up and become loving, caring adults. I hope that they have forgiven their parents for their decisions and that they have reconciled themselves to their childhood.


Fear Not the Darkness but What lies Within said...

that is very sad,I'm of the opinion that children need to know but in their terms you can tell them.

jaerose said...

Not being a mummy I wouldn't know what's must seem like an impossible decision...Jae

mindlovemisery said...

This is really sad. My mom keeps her illnesses to herself. She's been to the emergency and hospital a couple of times without telling me till after. She's sick now but she keeps telling me it's fine even though I've heard she can't walk (I like in another country). I am so scared of losing her and not being able to say goodbye. I've begged her to be honest with me but she won't I guess she thinks she's protecting me but I am a grown woman and even if I wasn't I'd want her to be honest. So I agree with you totally.

trisha said...

even though i respect the views/decisions of others but i somehow think like you, a child should be made aware of the truth that he/she might lose one of the parents forever.