There was a study in Denmark that said people who lost children were 18% more likely to get cancer. They think it is the stress of loss.

I was one of those people.

Friends were shocked to hear I had breast cancer.

“That poor woman, first she loses a son and now she has breast cancer.”

 The fact that I wasn’t upset baffled them. Once you lose a child, nothing upsets you and nothing is too monumental to overcome.

This is what’s true for me…every experience in life occurs, as it should. There are no mistakes or accidents. Losing a child changes you in a profound way. You have the choice to be bitter and plummet to the dark depths or rise above as Elizabeth Edwards did.

You will trip and fall many times on that bumpy road called grief, but there will always be someone there to give you a hand. Many times, that strength will come from the grace of your own sweet child.

Funny how the littlest things in life became meaningful and the enormous problems are minimized. You realize that every day is a celebration. Why does it take a tragedy to see this?  Knowing you can’t cling on to anything, that there is no permanence in life, gives you a certain sense of freedom to reach farther. After all, you know you have experienced the worst. You also know you can fall and are capable of getting up again.

No one is immune to problems and tragedies. You have to celebrate life in all its ups and downs. It is a part of what makes us who we are in life. You have to celebrate the joys. For some reason, that laugh or smile lifts us up out of ourselves and propels us to start thinking about our situation in a different light. Anger and silence close us down. While working on a light heart we will glow from within as Elizabeth did.

Vicky Bates

Tags: , , ,
Vicky Bates

Vicky Bates

After 18 years of marriage and career, we decided to adopt two babies. My oldest had many health issues which after 10 years led to a fatal anaphylactic shock. I believe that my spiritual beliefs helped me understand that the tragedies we face challenge us to confront our pain and slowly work through it. That is what I did through helping with hospice and watching the process of transition for the dying and seeing that even in the hardest times the gentle kindness of humor is a necessary tool.

More Articles Written by Vicky