I am not sure what I have been doing since my last blog post, I can’t believe it’s been a year since my last entry.
It’s Christmas time and I am still on my quest for Joy. I carry a deep seated sense of sadness during the Christmas season. Residual pain I guess from being a single parent of two precious sons and not having money to provide for their Christmas.
When Jason was diagnosed with cancer at the age of two, I was strongly urged to leave nursing school and be at his bedside. This left me with no income from employment or student loans. I had to ask for social assistance and we received gifts from the local Christmas charity program.
It was not the life I had imagined for my sons and myself. I was a single mom and had enrolled in nursing school to provide a better quality of life for my family.
There I was in the middle of the Christmas season, no money, and my youngest son’s life was in jeopardy as T-Cell Leukemia and the treatment was wreaking havoc on his little body. Yellow flannel pajamas, little bald head, and 12 days of cranial radiation. It was torture to watch both of my boys life change at the drop of four little words – your son has cancer.
My faith in God was mighty and I prayed constantly for an army of Angels to watch over Jason, Brandon and all the children I had met on the children’s cancer ward. I would push forward in faith.
Years later I would recant this story to a dear friend and planted a seed to encourage our parent run charity for kids with cancer – The Kids With Cancer Society, to provide financial support to families who needed a brighter Christmas. When the pediatric oncologists that are treating your child’s cancer advise both parents to be at their child’s side for extended periods of time, income supports to make ends meet are not always available. Families have monthly expenses to provide food on the table, a home, transportation, and basic aids to daily living. Cancer does not choose families who have benefits from work, extra savings or a steady flow of cash.
To this very day, The Kids with Cancer Society continues to help meet the needs of families in crisis at Christmas time. While my memories of our own sparse Christmas season bring tears to my eyes, my soul is rejoicing in knowing that other families might be experiencing a little bit of Joy at Christmas.
Whatever circumstances you are facing during Christmas, hold on to hope, and look for Joy in simple things. If you are in a position to help others in need, do so, and remember everything will be all right.
published by Sheila Ethier