‘Malignant cells identified.’
Words I never wanted to hear. My cancer diagnosis arrived just shy of what would have been my daughter’s 7th birthday. I am facing the unknown once again. My diagnosis is unknown, the treatment plan is unknown, my future is unknown, everything is unknown. It’s scary, terrifying, and overwhelming.
I have always known that experiencing the loss of your baby does not make you immune to future hardships. I understand that just because I have experienced the worst does not mean I am exempt from pain, loss, or grief again. But I do wish, as bereaved parents, we would be given a pass. I also wish that I would have had more time to settle into life before being thrown into another whirlwind.
- I was just beginning to feel normal.
- I had settled into being a mom to two boys.
- I could breathe again.
The PTSD that has risen from this cancer diagnosis is awful.
The things we have done and actions that we have taken thus far are eerily reminiscent to the time our daughter was living and after her death. It has been exhausting.
- Sharing bad news with family and friends
- Posting the social media announcement
- Creating a Give InKind support page
- Welcoming meals, childcare, housecleaning
- Accepting that this is out of my control
- Relaying the story over and over again
But, I have also been using the lessons I learned from my daughter to support what I need now.
- Asking for help
- Stating my boundaries
- Prioritizing self-care
- Staying present
- Putting my phone on silent
- Feeling no obligation to respond to each message
- Avoiding the rabbit hole of despair
And the biggest lesson of all, that I know in my heart of all hearts:
- I didn’t cause this.
- I cannot control this.
- This too, I will survive.
But, I sure wish this wasn’t now also part of my story.
Related: Control (Or Lack Thereof)
Have you experienced illness or trauma after the loss of your baby? What did that look like for you? How did you handle that time emotionally?
Amie discovered a new appreciation of life after spending only 33 days with her daughter. She now raises 2 sons and takes advantage of every free moment to write, educate, and offer hope to bereaved families. Learn more about the books she has authored, her daughter’s non-profit foundation, and Amie’s life on her blog.