search discussions

glow in the woods

front page
the archives
what is this place?
the contributors
comment policy

Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

parenting after loss > Fear of cancer

I found this site by accident but am relieved to have a group of people that can relate to me. I lost my son 8 years ago to leukemia. He was diagnosed at his two month "well baby" visit. The next day we had relocated to a hospital specializing in leukemia and other cancer treatments in children. We went through hell on earth- rounds of chemo and TWO bone marrow transplants. In the end, his little body couldn't take it and he died at 16 months old. My whole world crashed in. On top of that, my husband at the time decided a few months into my son's treatment that he didn't want to be married to me anymore. So most of the time during treatment I was also dealing with that. He moved out about a month before my son passed.
Today I am remarried to a wonderful man, and gave birth to our baby girl in June. She's approaching her two month visit, and I have some days when the anxiety almost takes me out. She has these discolorations on her legs which sometimes look like bruises to me. I only found a bruise on my son the day before he was diagnosed, but even the thought that my daughter MIGHT have a bruise completely paralyzes me. I'm taking her in to the doctor tomorrow evening, and praying in the meantime to stay calm.
I don't want her to grow up in a house of fear or with a mom who is terrified by everything. I also don't want to drive my husband crazy or make him worry obsessively like me. I question everything. We've barely seen the light of day because I'm so scared of her getting germs from somewhere or someone. I grew up with a wonderful mom that did everything to make me feel safe and loved. I want to do the same for my daughter, but it's SO hard to fight the fear. Really hoping it gets easier!
August 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBecky
Becky, I'm so sorry for the loss of your son. And of your marriage. I can well imagine that having your daughter has brought so much of the pain, the fear and the grief back to the surface of your thoughts and your heart. That makes perfect sense to me. My daughter died shortly after birth 25 years ago. I had two older children, three and a half and two years old at that time. I never had another child, but the fear I had of losing one or both of them was paralyzing at times.

Yes, it does get better. You can't ever not know the things you learned, watching your son die. But you get better and better at handling the fear as time goes on. It does take time, a lot of time. At least a couple of years, I would think. Past the 16 month age of your daughter and then as she grows beyond the age your son died at, I think your confidence will increase. Your confidence that she is going to live and that you are doing a good job raising her.

As a suggestion, you may need to go over the events of your son's life and death and the aftermath again. A change of circumstances usually makes that a good idea. Such as remarriage and your rainbow. It can help you to pinpoint your fear, such as the fear of bruises, rather than keep you living in a nebulous cloud of anxiety. A decent therapist can be a good listener. I have also received good help from Hospice. Most of local chapters run free group support and they are very good at dealing with death and the fear of it striking again.

I don't think the fear of loss ever goes away. We know too much. But you will find ways to deal with it and work with it. You have started doing that already by reaching out here at Glow. When you look for answers, you have an easier time finding them. The fear, though, Becky, the fear can feel like you are losing your mind. You are not. For all of us, it is normal.

Congratulations to you and your husband on the birth of your daughter! I wish her brother was here with you, too. Peace to you as you look for your answers.
August 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJill A.