Unfortunately, my son has witnessed my brain tumor journey since day one. He was only eight-years-old when I had the grand mal seizure in his bed which led to my brain tumor/cancer diagnosis. He has seen the good, the bad, the ugly, and the really ugly. He understands that I have spells of sickness nearly every day. He has seen me persevere and also surrender.
The following list includes lessons we have learned along the way which I hope will end up shaping his character as he continues to grow and develop.
- Never ever give up hope. Yes, there were times when I was so down I didn’t want to go on, but I’m glad I did because the next day was always better.
- Make the most of what you have. Case and point, we created “That Thing on my Mom’s Brain” together just a few months after I came home from the hospital. We focused our energy on helping others and it turned out to be very healing for us as well.
- Be Resilient. Inevitably life will knock you down at some point, what matters most is how you deal with it. Allow yourself to feel the pain but put a time limit on it and then in the words of Aaliyah, “if at first you don’t succeed (first you don’t succeed), dust yourself off and try again. You can dust it off and try again, try again.”
- Compassion is Key. You already master this. Just don’t forget that you never really know what someone else is going through.
- Kindness Matters. Always remember there were people who were kind and patient when I could barely speak or when we were out together and I was overcome by overstimulation. Think of the sweet cashier at Old Navy who calmly responded with “it’s okay, take your time” when I was feeling ill and struggling with halted speech as we were shopping for school clothes a few months ago.
- Do What You Can, When You Can, Where You Can. As you know, I was all about my career before this happened. It took me a while to finally accept that I am no longer able to work (at least for the time being). Conversely, I am here and able to chauffeur you all around town now. What can I say? Your schedule is my schedule. Seriously though, I am very grateful to be here and that I am able to provide you with plenty of nurturing as you navigate through your teen years.
- Be thankful, grateful, and mindful. Train your brain to think of the many blessings you have each night before you go to sleep and each morning when you wake up.
- Family and Community is everything. #enoughsaid