Breast cancer, Chingonas, Grief, Hospice, Parenting, poetry, Wisdom

Hiding From Grief

Before I sat down at the keyboard this morning, my daughter swung open my bedroom door, crying. 

She had just received a text from her close friend that her mother died after a couple of weeks in hospice care. 

Her friends mother had breast cancer several years ago and it returned last year. Her mother was a little younger than I. Her remission was longer than mine.

I’m on a roller coaster of emotions: Sad that this young woman, my daughter’s age, has lost her mother, anxious because I’m seven years out of my own breast cancer diagnosis and the thought of its return not only looms in my face, but in my daughter’s because we know she is at higher risk for BC now. I wanted to yell:

We hugged until her sobs stopped. Her friend said she’d text again later. My daughter didn’t know if she should go over and see her friend or not, then went back to her room. I didn’t know either. 

My desire to do something to help left me unable to speak out loud. I think I was trying to hide my grief. So I do what I do, I write things out to find answers. 

The first question: Why do I feel anxious?  

The second: How can I help? 

 I began writing on the closest piece of paper. The sadness of hearing this news, coupled with the notice of my aunts impending death last week and my mother’s recent hospital stay, is the main reason I was anxious. My daughter’s grief this morning pushed me over the edge. A mother doesn’t want her children to hurt, kid children or YA children. 

After a few more minutes of writing I wanted to crawl back into bed and cry, but I didn’t. That’s not very chingona for me to start crying while my daughter is upset-I told myself. It was a fleeting thought because I didn’t make it to my bed, I sat in my chair and cried.The anxiety diminished.

My cell phone played its pinball noise. My boyfriend texted “Good Morning, what are you doing?” For once I said exactly what I was doing and why. After a few minutes he texted “I’ll pray for you.” That helped me-a lot.

My daughter came into my room and ask if I thought it’d be okay if she just showed up at her friends house. She noticed my reddened eyes and asked me what was going on. I confessed my reasons for crying which made her cry, “Don’t say that, don’t say ‘what if your cancer comes back.'” 

But I said what has been pent up inside me for a few days, cried again, and said to let me have my feelings. My daughter nodded her head, we hugged and cried some more. I told her it’s okay that she said what she said, I know she’s afraid too sometimes, it’s okay to cry and not know what to do. 

“I’m going to get dressed, go over to see her,” my daughter said, swiping at her tears. 

And then I knew the answer to the second question: How can I help? 

Sometimes the best thing to help someone is to just listen, hug them, hold their hand, acknowledge the pain, be with them, or let them know you’re thinking of them. 

Hiding grief catches up with you. Sometimes crying and not knowing what to do is the most chingona thing you can do at the time. Many times crying, writing, and feeling your feelings helps to end the roller coaster ride.  

Back Toward Light

This poem found me today and I it: 

There is a Sacredness in Tears.
They are the bearers of unspoken prayers, words, pain and hope.

They can reach out and touch hearts, and heal.

Don’t ever take any one’s tears for granted.
And don’t let anyone make you feel bad if you need to cry sometimes.
Feeling – is Healing.

Tears are “Raindrops” – from the Storms of the Soul.
And only You know what Storms you have walked through. ♥

~ Kiran Shaikh

4 thoughts on “Hiding From Grief”

  1. What a lovely poem. So sorry to hear about all the pain and grief that's been swirling around you lately. In crying, you are taking action–processing through things. It also sounded that you connected with your daughter on a deeper level as a result of it. Sending a hug your way.


  2. Oh dear Monica, what a terrible situation. It's hard to cry, especially in front of our daughters, but sometimes that shows the greatest strength. I think that there is no greater show of strength than showing compassion, fear and sadness so truthfully and so straight from your heart. Thinking of you. 🙂


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