An Open Letter to Students affected by a Parent’s Cancer

Why This Matters | Michaela Rosen | February 15, 2016

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Dear College Students affected by a Parent’s Cancer,

You are often overlooked. You are constantly asked, “How is your mom? How is your Dad?” Yet, everyone seems to fail to ask you, “How are you doing?” So, you put on a valiant face and answer the question about your parent with, “She’s fine. He’s doing well.”

I am here to ask you, “How are you doing?” And no matter your response, I am here to tell you that you are strong. You are amazing.

No one understands the constant worry and fear that race through your head. No one understands why anger and outbursts escape you. No one understands the determination it takes to clear your head, so you can get through a day. No one understands what you do to preoccupy your mind.

I am here to tell you that I do understand and I admire your strength. I hope you find the peace that you need.

I know that when life overwhelms you, you cry silent tears at night or in the shower. I know that you sometimes have to throw a smile onto your face and be happy. I know that you may have pushed some people out and not let others into your life. I know that you may feel as if there are weights pushing down on your shoulders.

I am here to let you know that it is okay to cry. It is okay to not want to smile sometimes. It is okay to feel your raw emotions because you are going through something that affects your entire being and it reaches to your core and to your soul.

As college students, we are supposed to plan our futures – what we want to do after graduation, where we want to live, or who we want to be with. But, sometimes looking to the future can be the hardest thing for you to do. You might have to picture it without your parent. You might have to envision your wedding without her there. You might have to think that he won’t be there to hold his grandchild. You have to actually look at reality when you look at your future.

I am here to tell you that it is scary. There is no way to say that it is not. What I can tell you is that you have already dealt with something that no one should. And, because of that, I know that you are a warrior and will be able to handle all the challenges that life will give you.

Lift your head up and take a deep breath. Do not let those weights on your shoulders burden you because you are not alone in what you are going through.

Sincerely,

A fellow College Student affected by a Parent’s Cancer