Dear Carol

Cancer's no joke

My mother died from melanoma when I was 9 (now I’m 15.) My sister and I still haven’t gotten over it.  A lot of the kids don’t understand what it’s like, but a few do.  In school, one boy made a joke about cancer and everyone laughed, except me and my English teacher.  My teacher talked to the class and said it was not a joke.  The boy never even said he was sorry.  How can I get people to understand how I feel?

Dear Cancer’s No Joke,

I’m sorry your mother died.  It must be so hard.  You won’t be able to make everyone in the world understand, but that’s not your goal anyway.  The goal is for you and your sister to feel happy and productive again.  It’s nearly impossible to “get over” someone’s passing, but time can help you accept what you cannot change.  There will always be people who say the wrong things, and kids tend to joke about stuff that makes them anxious.  But take comfort in knowing your sister understands and that both of you can be compassionate confidantes for others who go through hard times.

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by Carol Weston | 2/1/2016