My role as a social worker in the cancer center can be very humbling at times to say the least. Complete strangers often share their intimate feelings during their darkest times, and they allow me to support them whether it be through a hug or an action-oriented task to solve a problem. It’s an honor to be a part of their lives. Seldom do people work in a profession where their roles intersect with our personal lives but mine did this past weekend as I accompanied my 13 year old daughter to the funeral of one of her classmates who died after battling leukemia.
I privately counted my blessings that my child is healthy and that this loss was not mine to bear, only to be reminded that in some small way, it was all of ours to own through the eyes of the youth that sat in that church. They looked much too young to be experiencing such a loss. I could have chosen the easier path, opting to quickly dismiss this event with a simple “pat on the head” and an overbooked calendar which would not have permitted time to attend this funeral. But, that’s not how growth and coping skills are achieved. We face the “hard” things on a regular basis . Sometimes, we are forced to, but other times, we face hardship because we know that it will eventually allow for the best outcome – even under the worst of circumstances.
The support that occurs daily within our cancer center doesn’t stay here. As much as we would like to separate our work from personal life—we don’t and we can’t. Life’s lessons that are gained here are used to guide our relationships with family, friends, community and yes – even our children.
I encourage everyone to not “pass” on the difficult moments that life has to offer (whether it be in your professional or personal life) because the sense of acceptance, closure, and lack of regret that can be obtained will last a lifetime.