The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


A Scary Word Comes Between a Family

I had just returned from our first writing salon of the year. I listened to Jay complain about the unfairness of algebra homework, while Mimi held onto my leg as I tried to walk down the hall.

She asked if she could sit in my lap and I said of course. Mimi hesitated, than leapt onto me. I wondered why she thought before acting.

Mimi felt heavier. I tried to put my chin above her head, but it didn’t fit.

Something was odd. Something was different.

As I put my arms around her, I realized what it was -- she had physically outgrown me.
There was a gap between us. A distance apart.

Almost nine months earlier, nearly the time it takes to give birth, I labored with the delivery of a very different kind of announcement: I was told I had cancer. Just that word. . . 

I had no idea how unbelievable it would all become. How sitting still for even a few minutes would be a major accomplishment. How senior moments would became EVERY moment. How much I would change.

There were times I would lose it and my husband and children would just stare because they were not used to seeing me this way.

Early on, during a three-month wait for a definite diagnosis, in my mind I journeyed to my own funeral. It was difficult for me to look at my family because then I would have to consider that possibility.

Now I know it’s in an early stage, but the disease is chronic and unusual. There is no net.

For some two-hundred nights I have applied a topical chemotherapy drug that smells like a bomb and is derived from one. I’m in a clinical trial, so the experimental agent comes in a yellow and black bag that looks like police tape, and my bathroom hutch resembles a crime scene.

Each tube of medication is plastered with warning labels.

In psychedelic pink: Caution: CYTOTOXIC DRUG. Dispose of properly.

In neon yellow: CAUTION: New drug limited by Federal Law to investigational use.

In bright orange: HIGH ALERT MEDICINE.

I feel like a spotlight is on me and a helicopter hovering above.

But then seriousness sets in. I know my situation has affected my children emotionally. My son will come into my daughter’s room while I stare off into middle distances that are never far enough away. “You’re OK, right?”

Mimi will move toward me but then face away with her back. She reminds me of a pissed-off cat. She wants to love, but she is afraid.  Mimi has asked me not to die.

Today, when my husband dropped me off at the Cancer Center, my daughter began to cry as hard as the rain outside pounded. “Wait!” I pleaded to the valet. “I need to hug my daughter.” I felt her hot tears mingle with my own. Her body was warm and enveloped me as we clung tightly. 

I promised Mimi repeatedly that everything will be alright.

I believe in those words. I have children. I must.

By Dawn Yun

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You are so brave to share your story - and you show courage through writing in a time when I don't know that I could. But I'm guessing that as difficult as your journey has been and may continue to be, your life with your children and husband are a pretty good motivation to keep fighting. It seems a wonderful gift to have the ability to express through writing what you are dealing with every day - many readers who deal with the same kind of thing will likely find a much needed connection. I wish you all the best.
Yikes. I completely get this and really really hope all turns out well. Why do we have SO MUCH on our plates? Even our own mortality to consider. Life can be so heavy at times. Yet...there are the children -- their smiles, their hair shining in the sun as they skip away from us on a spring day. You are amazing, Dawn, and we all appreciate what you do for the rest of us as well. Laura-Lynne
Very powerful and poignant. How you bear this all is incredible. I am sure your honesty helps.
Wow, this was so touching. Every-day mom stuff is hard enough, but you've so eloquently described the indescribable- what it's like to worry about your health, your life, and that of your family.
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