A Letter to Myself

October 20, 2018

Dear Grace,
Trust me, I know how you feel. I’ve been there. Your entire world was just turned upside down. Your little brother was just diagnosed with cancer.
It happens in an instant. Then suddenly, everything is different. This is going to be a long, difficult journey, but you can do it. You are going to discover that you are so much stronger than you ever thought you could be.
There will be highs and lows. Some days you will cry. Others you will be angry. And on the worst days you will be both. You will be pushed to your limits and then some. Remember to keep going and never give up. Fight like you have never fought before because, even if you don’t realize it, your little brother is looking up to you while he is fighting the battle for his life. Use him as an inspiration and let him use you.
Spend as much time as you can with your brother. Be there for him as much as you possibly can be. Learn to do what ever you can for him, but also realize there will be so many things that you will never be able to fix. Don’t take things too personally. Sometimes when people have cancer they may not have the energy to spend time with you or they may need something you can’t give them.
One of the most important things that you need to realize is that it’s not about you anymore. And you need to be okay with that. Your parents need to give all their attention to your brother because he honestly needs it. You will find that people always seem to ask how your brother is doing, but never how you are. I know you might be offended by this, or even angry, but don’t be. You are strong, and you have so much potential. Learn to be there for yourself and take care of yourself.
Although your brother is the one with cancer, it is going to affect your entire life just as much as his. This is something that people will never understand. They will look at you on the outside and see that you are fine. But the reality is that sometimes you won’t be. Your family can’t be there for each other because two of them moved to a different city to get treatment. It is understandable that you might feel scared, alone, and broken when some of the only people who get what you are going through are four hundred miles away from you. You are going to feel like no one gets you, but that’s not true. Your entire family is feeling the same way that you are. Know that you are not alone and lean on your family as much as you can.
Thinking positive is good for your soul. It’s okay to be sad, but don’t let it consume you. Move on, make new friends, and try new things. This is a time of growth. You may not realize it, but your entire family is being put to the test. If you stay positive and maintain hope, you will get through this.
When a sibling has cancer, it really does change who you are. You will be someone who feels things on a deeper level and you will learn to appreciate what you have been given. Independence and maturity will be something you have to grow into much earlier than others. After all, you are still a child too. Learning how to be successful on your own is a skill that will be so important for the rest of your high school career. Even when your brother goes into remission, you will still need to be responsible and independent, because as much as the cancer changed you, it changed your brother too. The attention he requires won’t go away when the cancer does, so don’t expect that. Your parents will do what they can for you, but you need to be successful on your own, so don’t rely on only them to plan your future. It’s up to you now, so make it a bright one.
Eventually, the storm will pass. He will finally be in remission, but none of you will ever be the same. I know it’s hard now, and it will get worse before it gets better. But someday, you will wake up in the morning and realize that everything happens for a reason. You will be a completely different, stronger, better version of who you are now. So, don’t give up, because this is what makes you strong.
Be brave enough to keep going,
Your future self – Gracelyn Ward