Chapter 1: Only the Strongest Kids are Picked to Fight Cancer
[When we heard the diagnosis,] Emily put her little hand over mine and leaned into me. I put my arm around her waist tenderly, remembering all those bruises, and searched my mind for what I could say that would soothe her… “You know, only the strongest children in the world are picked to fight cancer,” I told her, “And you’re going to beat it, no matter what.”
I had said the wrong thing. Suddenly Emily looked confused and scared, like she was about to cry. No one had said the word cancer to her before it came out of my mouth. She was fighting her tears just as I was fighting mine. I had thought I was the one who needed to be strong for Emily, but I recognized then that I had it wrong. Sometimes Emily needed to be strong for me. I drew her a little tighter to me.
“Being afraid doesn’t mean that you are not brave,” I said. I was stroking her hair slowly, using that rhythm as my anchor to the world, and my tears receded. “We will all cry. We can all cry together…”
Watch the video where Tom and Kari discuss what it was like to hear this devastating diagnosis.