I’m Still a Mom

My 13-year-old son is away at summer camp in Wisconsin. 2000 miles away.

Six summers at camp has meant six summers of “I miss you” letters. However this summer they have taken on a different tone.

“This could be your last heathy summer and I want to be with you.”

Gulp. Double Gulp.

I’m not sure which is worse: knowing he is walking around with such a profound degree of worry and fear, or that I cannot, with integrity, assure him that he is wrong (although I’m quite certain he is wrong).

What I can do, however – what I must do – is help him to make this summer incredible regardless. No small task.

I saw it coming before he left. At the time I tried to reassure him that my tumor marker was continuing to drop and that I was feeling great, not a symptom to be found.

He assured me he knew all that…

I responded to his letters from camp by explaining that, baring the random events that could befall anyone, I would be the same when he returned home especially since I was not likely to get any new test results while he is away.

He knew that too…

And then I got a call from camp. He was having fun but still struggling. Another camper was going home because he was homesick, and the staff were worried how that would impact my son. Would I please fax him a letter?

At a loss for new words to deliver the same message, I decided to take a different tack. I wrote that I love him, that I was feeling great, that things at home were quiet without him…and that there was something he could do to help me: he could have fun.

With the benefit of a pending departure on a three-day rock climbing trip, he had a great distraction. Upon his return to camp I got a call from a rabbi who had been on the trip with him. She assured me that he was doing better, that they had talked at length, and that in the end she asked him what he thought would make me happiest. His answer: she would want me to have fun.

“That’s right,” she answered him, “because a mom can only be as happy as her saddest child.”

What an honest and beautiful truth…

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Facing Cancer (@cancer2gether)
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 09:28:12

    Beautiful post 🙂 What a caring letter you sent your son, and what insightful words from the rabbi. Thanks for sharing this. I hope he’s having a great time climbing tree forts, paddling canoes, and singing silly songs.

    Catherine
    http://www.facingcancer.ca

    Reply

  2. Susan
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 12:46:01

    What a beautiful post. You know you are doing the right thing but at the same time I can totally understand how you feel. I think he is going to have a great time at camp. I can tell that you have an fantastic relationship with your son. Enjoy the moments!

    Reply

  3. Jan Baird Hasak
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 15:20:29

    What a beautiful relationship you have with your son! Enjoy every minute of when he is home with you. It goes by in a flash.

    I love the quote from the rabbi. How true. My three sons mean the world to me, but if one is anxious about my health, I’m anxious about him. I don’t want that son to get distracted at work thinking about my plight. He’s got enough of his own life to live.

    You and your son are finding a comfortable groove as you live out your lives. Thanks for sharing such heartfelt feelings. xoxo

    Reply

  4. Bonnie
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 17:05:26

    Hard to describe all the thoughts and feelings your beautiful post evoked…

    Reply

  5. Val Katz
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 20:53:03

    You have a very special boy…the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! Beautiful post Lori!

    Reply

  6. BreastCancerSisterhood.com
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 08:09:26

    That’s a powerful statement from the rabbi. What a sweet, caring young man you’ve raised, Lori.

    Reply

  7. Lori
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 09:25:01

    Thank you ALL for your comments! He’s a special kid, and I am so very blessed to have him in my life! Here is HIS post about cancer (pre-mets).

    Great post script I wanted to share…got a call from the head nurse at camp yesterday and she said in all his years there she has NEVER seen him so happy! However it happened, it sounds like he’s turned a corner. He left yesterday on his next adventure!!

    Reply

  8. Beth Gainer
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 10:06:23

    Wow. This posting move me incredibly. Your son sounds like a remarkable young man. I’m glad he turned a corner, realizing that your wish would be for him to have fun. Amazing post.

    Reply

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