Cancer is a demon. It enters the body and slowly tears at you from the inside. It devours tissue and organs without remorse. Unceasingly destroying until a person is simply an empty shell of themselves. The only way to fight this beast is to poison yourself in the hope you are stronger than this demon.
Cancer is greedy, it steals your ability to walk, your ability to talk. It crushes you strength and leaves you struggling to simply breath simply so it can survive. It is evil, it is unrelenting, it is uncaring…….it is a monster.
How do you explain to your children about a sickness that is so powerful. How do you explain to them as they watch someone they love, like a bouquet of flowers, slowly wilt and die?
It is a profound question and one not easily answered.
In all honesty, I can not tell you how to talk to your kids about death. I can tell you how I talk to my kids and hopefully my advice will be of some use to you.
The reality of watching someone slowly die is horrible to watch. However it is a reality in life. As we all live, we will all die one way or another.
What I have chosen to teach my children is that death is natural. It as much a part of life as living itself.
I show them that it is not the death of a loved one to remember, but the life that they had.
I teach them not to think about the years they will not have with their loved one, but to be thankful for all the years they did have. To remember those times, and to cherish them.
Life is never fair and I tell my children that bad things happen to the best of people sometimes.
It’s not fair.
The truth of the matter, fair or not, it is inevitable. The statistics are startling, 100 out 100 people who are alive today will die.
The focus of life should not be how it ends, but how a life is lived. I talk to my children on how to make a meaningful life. I try to point them in a direction that will have meaning to them.
My faith has taught me that there is more to life than what we see. I believe that science and religion are more deeply intertwined than science now knows.
Belief in something outside yourself brings a new perspective to life. It brings a purpose that many people never know, but are always searching for. This is what I teach my children.
I teach by example. My belief is this.
Nobody knows the truth of what happens after we die. This is where faith comes into life. If I live a kind life, donate 10% of my income to charity to help those in need, try to lead a moral life because I believe in something outside myself, why is this bad?
My belief is to leave this world a better place than I lived in. No matter how insignificant the change may be. I love my children, I love my family and when my turn comes, I will die a fortunate man
Watching someone slowly die is agonizing to do, however there is a hidden beauty revealed in it.
The beauty is in the human spirit, both of the dying and of the family around the dying. It is amazing how a family will come together to take care of someone in their last days. It is one of the most sad and beautiful things in life.
So as I tuck my kids into bed this evening, I tell them that sickness will always effect us. However we have the option to believe that the sickness, no matter how terrible, is not the end of the journey. It is simply the beginning of a new one. For both the one who dies and the one’s left to carry on.
Be calm. God awaits you at the door.