Child’s Loss

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Children are the collateral damage of cancer. Since children grieve differently it is easy to assume, they are fine, as they can appear fine. Dillan was seven when her mom died, and I was often told that children are resilient. I have come to hate this statement as it gives adults an excuse to ignore their children’s. In our household, we encourage the children to be open about their grief and express it openly. Crying is not only reprimanded, it is encouraged. Dillan has picked up writing to come to terms with the death of her mother. Below is a short essay she wrote last night. I am amazed year and half later, she is still haunted by the last three months of her mother’s life. Please note that I have not changed her grammar to maintain the integrity of her writing.


By Dillan:


When your loved ones pass away from animals to humans, They go to a world where they will never be seen again.

This is dedicated to my mom who past away when I was 7. She was a great mother. When I was little, she would always in the morning sing good morning to me and my sister. When my mom got diagnosed with cancer, I was very scared. At the time I was only 5 but soon I got use to it, because she acted fine. This was when she got red dots all over from the pill she was taking. Until 2017 when she got weaker and weaker because her medicine stopped working and soon she went to the hospital. It started once a month then every week and had to use a wheelchair, a breathing tube.  Once she came to my performance and people gave her dirty looks. I just wanted to go up to them and tell them stop looking just stop it. It’s is not like she is a monster, she is a human too, but I did not go up to them.

Soon it was summer and I went to camp. When I got back my mom was very sick she was at a hospice house. My dad let me see her after he let me get a drink told me my mom was going to die.

5 thoughts on “Child’s Loss

  1. I can’t even imagine all the emotions that you and your girls go through each and every day. I love how you encourage everyone to show their emotions because by doing so they will “heal” bits at a time. You are a great father and the girls are very lucky to have you. I enjoy reading your posts and believe that by writing these posts you show your emotion which helps you heal as well. Hugs to all of you.


  2. Dear Dillan,

    Thank you so much for writing about your mother, and about how you feel about her passing. I have followed your dads’ posts for a few years now, and I may have even commented on one in the past, but your note touched my heart like no other. You see, I have three daughters, Leda – 9, Grace – 10, and Stella – 13, and, like your mom, I have lung cancer too. Because my girls are about your age, I thought I’d offer you a little insight from my side of the issue.

    On the day my lung cancer was diagnosed my wife was pregnant with Stella. That seems like a lifetime ago, but it also feels like it was just yesterday. I felt really guilty about getting my diagnosis because I felt like I couldn’t be a good dad if I was going to die. But I also felt guilty because I was so happy to be Stella’s dad – even if it might only be for a little while.

    After a couple of years, and when we thought my cancer may be under control, we started to talk about how nice it would be to have another child. While I still worried about dying, I also thought it might be easier if Stella had a brother or sister when I passed. Well, we ended up having Grace, and 17 months later we had Leda.

    Now, I could tell you that I didn’t want my wife to be alone, and that I wanted my girls to have the support of their sisters when I passed, but that’s not really what I wanted. Like your mom, the last thing I wanted was to die, but, knowing that it was likely, I also wanted to live fully for every moment I was alive. And, for me, I found I lived the most fully, and was the happiest just being with my girls. They have made my life amazingly wonderful!

    I don’t know if I’ll ever be as good at being a dad as I’d hope to be. And I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to let my girls know how happy they have made me, or how whole I feel because of them. And I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to make life easy for them when I pass. I know they’ll cry, and that they’ll be sad. And I know that I can’t live long enough for it to be an okay time to die when I die.

    I guess the bottom line here is that I think we have children for greedy reasons. Not greedy bad – but greedy because our children make us feel so good, even when we might be feeling bad. I also know that I’ve lived longer than my doctors expected, and longer than I expected, and I wouldn’t trade off a single one of those days with my girls for a thousand days without them.

    I know you made your mom a very happy person. You and your sister were the reason she held on to this life as long as she could. And I know she would be proud of the person you are.

    Some of us don’t live a long time, but the life we live is full and happy and wonderful. So much of that is the love we share with our children. I am of Greek ancestry, an old and proud heritage that I am trying to share with my daughters. I mention this because in my Greek culture, when one of our loved ones passes we say “May her memory be eternal.” But there’s a little twist to that eternal word because the word for “eternal” in Greek is the same word for “current.” So, when we say “May her memory be eternal” we are also saying “may you remember her now.” And by remembering her, when a song reminds you of her, or a scent or aroma makes you remember something about her, you are making her eternal.

    Thank you for writing about your mom. It touched my heart, and it makes her more current in all of our lives. And it gives me hope for my girls in a time when I may not be able to be with them.

    Jim Pantelas
    Dad to Stella, Grace and Leda.


  3. This hits close to home as my daughter is 7 now and going through the same thing.

    I can only hope that she handles my situation the same way.

    Thank you, Dillan 💗


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