He jumped in the car from kindergarten pickup, excited to show me important papers. As he opens his bag he says, “Mom, today I have papers that are kind of for Memere!”
Memere is what he calls my mother. It means grandmother. She’s been gone for two years now so I was intrigued to see what he’d pull out. A paper he had written? A picture he had drawn? It turned out to be neither of those things.
What he pulled from his backpack was another reminder of our loss and heartbreaking reality. They were fundraiser forms, for cancer.
Cancer. A word my sweet six-year-old boy knew, and felt, and understood. A word that changed his life in immeasurable ways. A word he now associates with my mother and the grandmother he lost.
He wasn’t sad. He was matter-of-fact. I was the one filled with sadness. For him, he was simply filled with purpose. He had a new drive and determination to fill this box with change for cancer, for people like his grandmother.
I was inspired by his heart, and heartbroken for it too. His little six-year-old heart suddenly had a philanthropic pull, because he realized others face this disease too. And for him, the outcome was a life-changing one.
So we sit here, putting together a box to collect change and “Pennies for Patients”, because it’s important to him. And because it’s important to him, it’s important to all of us.
We sit here talking about cancer. A word that changed his life. A word that changes many people’s lives. A word I wish didn’t exist. One I wish we didn’t know.
A word that came home in his backpack and gave him a cause for his loss. A fundraiser that is giving his grief a purpose. I guess that’s an assignment I can get behind. It’s just one my heart wasn’t properly prepared for.
A wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.