Friends, this made me angry.
I know childhood cancer is sad. I know the stories of children who die are very tragic. I see the looks people give me sometimes when I share the scary, horrible stories that make up my motherhood. Sometimes, I overcompenstate by immediately offerring the beautiful things I've unearthed in the rubble cancer left behind. Sometimes my heart is in that compenstating. Other times, I literally choke on my words of hope because it just feels like I am doing the fight for awareness and cures a disservice by presenting it as some sort of gift.
Childhood cancer is not a gift.
Childhood cancer is evil, friends. It reigns down terror on children and families. It murders and maims. Of course it cannot take away all the good that exists despite it and in reaction to it--nothing can. But cancer tries to erase everything.
And I am very sorry that people might think it is too sad.
But, friends, we don't get to choose the stories we encounter. We can choose to cover our ears and look away; but those "too sad" stories are still happening. I believe that when we choose to listen and look, we do not find ourselves damaged or depressed from the hard things we witness, but instead we find ourselves in a position to change the direction of a story.
Maybe the change we offer is just being kind or maybe it is acknowledging someone's pain or maybe it is grand and large because we are in the unique position to fix a problem.
In my own experience, there days when I find myself scrolling away from the updates from a childhood cancer mom who is struggling. These are the days when I think looking at something sad will someone make my own life sad. But when I choose to stop and read and look--I experience empathy and that empathy compels me to action. Maybe the action is immediate--like adding them to the prayer list or reaching out to them to check. Maybe the action is storing away their story--keeping that knowledge in my memories and using it to fuel more action and advocacy to help other kids.
But whatever I do--when I look and listen to other stories--stories that are sad--I find myself connected to something beyond myself.