When They Don’t Get to ‘Ring the Bell’

March 31, 2021

As I scroll Facebook I’m constantly drawn to the emotional posts and videos. 

You know the ones I’m talking about, the posts that even before you click, you know there will be tears and a twinkle in your heart. The kind of posts that make you feel, effortlessly and intensely. 

Today I’m drawn to a video that shows an older woman in a wheelchair. She’s wearing a scarf around her shaved head and is delicately holding the hands of her children. The caption reads, “Ringing the bell. She’s finished with chemo and cancer!”

Tears form and quickly I’m crying. I’m crying tears of joy for this sweet family, but also, I’m crying tears of sorrow too. You see, my mother never got to ring the bell. She never got to be finished with cancer or chemo. 

There was no bell ringing. There was no celebration. 

She never got to ring the bell. 

Instead, she died from a ravenous cancer that overwhelmed her body.

She’s not unique in this loss. There are so many others that never got the opportunity to ring the bell either. So many others that never got to celebrate the end of cancer’s hell. So many others that know the catastrophe and destruction from a six-letter-word; cancer. 

There was no bell ringing for us. There was no celebration. 

Instead, there were final goodbyes and final moments. 

Instead of ringing a bell, there was funeral planning. 

Instead of ringing a bell, there was a casket to choose.

Instead of ringing a bell, there was a plot to pick and a new location for visits. 

Instead of bell ringing, there was a eulogy, obituary, and a constant flow of tears. 

I hate that not everyone gets to ring a bell and celebrate the win over cancer’s destruction. I hate that not everyone gets to experience healing and continued living. I hate that the pain of cancer doesn’t end with the life it stole, for it’s influence gets sprinkled into the lives of those that remain. I hate cancer fiercely and the destruction that looms behind it’s finality and stealing of a life. 

My mom never got to ring a bell. She never got to be finished with cancer or chemo. There was no celebration, only a heartbreaking goodbye. 

The reality is that sometimes there is no bell ringing. Sometimes instead, there is a loss. A significant, crippling, devastating loss. 

Sending love to those that never got to watch their loved one ‘ring the bell’. You are not alone. 

xox, Chels

1 comments so far.

One response to “When They Don’t Get to ‘Ring the Bell’”

  1. Kerry Heavisides says:

    Oh wow, I just stumbled upon this blog as I was contemplating my own mom’s death (last Sept) from uterine cancer. I have a friend excited for her last chemo round and excited to ring the bell and I thought about how my dear mom never go to ring a bell. I wondered if anyone else had written about this and here you are. 💗. Almost a year out and my grief is more pronounced than ever these days. Thank you for this and I look forward to reading the rest of your blog.

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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.

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