Monday, January 23, 2012


Even if it shouldn't, getting cancer has also left me with an incredible amount of guilt. And even more so when it comes to my kids.

While I also realize I didn't decide to get cancer and therefor it is not my fault {okay, I mostly understand this. But I can't lie, I often wonder if I did do something to cause this}, which means I shouldn't feel guilty, I do.

My children have had to give a lot up because of my cancer. We pulled them out of most of their activities {music lessons, karate, extras} mostly because we knew I wouldn't be in any shape to drive them back and forth. They, though, were understanding about it - not that they wanted to stop, but they understood why and did not complain. Recently the 12 year old has started to ask when we can pick some of these things back up, so I know they are missing them.

There were a lot of things this summer we did not do. I did not take them to the pool. I took them to the park maybe 2 times I think {it's kind of blur}. We didn't go on bike rides and took very few walks. I didn't take them to the water park. We didn't really go for ice cream {although I will interject here that other people stepped up and took care of this one so they did get their fill of it!}. We didn't really go to the library, I didn't read books to them.

I did (and still do) watch too much tv with them. I did (and still do) take naps with them. I did (and still do) cuddle with them. I did (and still do) listen when they needed me to listen. I did (and still do) do what I could as I could. But there are so many days it doesn't feel like enough. And I wonder if they will look back and carry around nothing but bad memories about the past 9 months. I hope they won't. I do feel that through it all we've grown much closer. And I've seen their kind, caring and compassionate side come out. Which, I can't lie, I love and makes me feel so incredibly proud of them.

I know they are resilient. And I know it wasn't all bad for them. And obviously, I am not their only parent, and Eric has been a rock star dad through all of this. Family and friends also helped entertain them when they could.

But even knowing all of that. I can't lie. I am carrying a fair amount of guilt around. I know, I know. Another thing I'll have to work through. Someday, I hope I can unpack it all and let it go. But for now, I worry about them. And how this will affect them. And really? I'm a mom. Can you blame me?


  1. Eric is a man to be proud of, your kids are amazing, and this has been a 'bump' in their lives that they will never forget. Just as you have become closer to your kids through this inescapable illness, they have become closer to you, too. They love they have for you is now broader, deeper, than the love of child for Mother - it now includes love of a person that allowed them in, allowed them to participate, allowed them to help. They love you now in ways they don't understand, but they will as they grow older.

    They love you more than ever. You can't possibly feel guilty about that.

  2. I get it on the surface. The things they "should" have done over the past nine months that got derailed by cancer. Ooops. There's that word. SHOULD.

    I am the LAST person get on a soapbox and preach about guilt. Hell, I'm still hauling around a bag filled with it and my kids are grown.

    But the cuddling and the TV time (so WHAT if that's what works for now) and the bond you created- beats a soccer game any day of the week.

    You are a great mom. Just know that... oh... and my observation about the TV time thing.... "Your guilt has guilt" .....

    Regret is a useless emotion. Guilt is regret's nasty relative (to paraphrase Jack Nicholson in Anger Management)......


  3. AnneMarie is right. Having guilt for something over which you have no control over is a waste of your energy. Whenever you start to throw guilt onto yourself, think of what you would tell a friend if they were feeling the same way. If I were carrying guilt over an illness, what would you tell me?

  4. You will be there for them in 5 10 years...they won't remember that they missed out on a summer of fun, they will remember you there when they graduate high school and get married. I'm sure that in exchange for missing a few things, their relationships with other family members and friends has deepened and that is more than worth it. Don't feel guilty for missing out on a few activities, just remind yourself that you are a survivor and nothing can top that right now!

  5. Anonymous6:10 PM

    Brandie - when you can, in big ways and in small ways, try to release the guilt. Picture it as black smoke leaving your body and your mind. Focus on all the positives (the cuddle time, the TV bonding time, etc) and watch the black smoke leave and evaporate. Tell it that it's not welcome any more. Keep doing this till it goes away. Always know that you did, and are, doing the best you can. None of it's your fault so try to be kind to yourself. Take care, xo Chris, San Diego

  6. Ok, first of all your amazing kids were not neglected the last 9 months! They got to do plenty and i might add they got to do things they might not have been able to do if you were in tip top shape. Forget the guilt!!! let me put in words i have heard you and your 12 year old use time and time again "forget about it"!!!!!! I love you more than words can say.

  7. Anonymous11:12 PM

    All I can say is when my mom had cancer I was 15 and learned to appreciate her more. I don't remember all the things she couldn't do. I remember my friends who would get upset about something their parents said and I was just so glad my mom had beat cancer. Now as adults she is my best friend. You are aloud to feel guilty. All of us mothers do about something. Just know that they probably don't feel anything but love and pride for you as their mom.


Seeing your comments makes me smile! Thank you so much =)