Cancer is an unwelcome visitor forever altering the lives it intrudes. The disease is difficult to discuss, yet a new book offers guidance.
“When a Parent Has Cancer” (HarperCollins, $24) provides reassurance and practical advice to families facing this diagnosis. The book is especially sensitive since the author, Wendy Harpham, M.D., speaks from personal experience.
A long-time lymphoma survivor, an internist and a mother of three, Harpham is a renowned authority on surviving cancer.
“Cancer,” Harpham writes, “is an illness, not a death sentence.” In an honest, direct and sympathetic style, she provides help for dealing with the effects of cancer on family life.
Harpham discusses how to talk honestly with children and teens to deal with their fears. She explains how to use the cancer experience to help children grow strong. And how a sick parent can establish an “energy bank account.”
Included in the sleeve of the hardcover book is a paperback, “Becky and the Worry Cup.” Harpham’s story for kids describes a young girl whose mother has cancer. When Becky learns of her mother’s illness, she must deal with her fears. The book is honest, yet appropriately light-hearted, and works well for children of all ages.
“When a Parent has Cancer” is available at Auntie’s Bookstore and B. Dalton in Spokane; and the Book and Game Company in Coeur d’Alene.
For bereaved parents
As the nation mourns the loss of the Cosby family’s son, Ennis, families in our community may also be grieving the loss of a child.
In an effort to help parents with the grief process, a mother from Colbert, Wash., offers a newsletter, Heart to Heart Hope and Healing.
Cindy Jo Greever lost her youngest child in 1993 when the 9-year-old girl was killed on her way to school.
Greever realized her need for interaction with other bereaved parents and she began the newsletter two years ago.
“This is a very sensitive subject for most people and the literature is scant,” Greever said in a recent phone interview. “There is little written on grieving a lost child.”
Families around the country receive her newsletter which seeks to offer what the title states: hope and healing.
Although parents never get over the loss of their child, says Greever, hope comes as they learn to find new ways to go on with their lives in a way that counts for the life of their child.
Healing comes when parents share their grief with other parents and learn from each other how to cope.
The newsletter is personal, allowing subscribers to submit their own work. There are pages devoted to tributes and picture memorials, as well as poems and comforting scripture.
“We don’t have the answers,” says Greever, “but as we deal with the grief in healthy stages and are aware of the process of griefwork, we begin to look back and find healing taking place.”
To receive the newsletter, send your name, address and the child’s name, dates and photo to: Heart to Heart Hope and Healing, P.O. Box 6292, Spokane, WA 99207.
There is no charge for the quarterly publication, but donations are appreciated.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Drawing
MEMO: The Family Track is a weekly column of notes and information for families. Send items to Lynn Gibson, Features Department, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210-1615, or fax (509) 459-5098.
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