Opinion

Student Experience: Coming to terms with losing a family member to cancer

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By Amber Ghei


Losing a family member is extremely tough. I’ve heard other people’s experiences of cancer, and my sincerest condolences go to those who have suffered, but it wasn’t until recently when a close family member of mine lost their battle to cancer that it really sunk in how devastating it can be.

Losing someone to cancer is without a shadow of a doubt, the most heart-wrenching pain. Quite simply, no words can really do justice because when cancer wins, it taints every last remaining good thing around you.

What is unimaginable is how that individual must feel going through such a daunting time. I have so much respect for anyone fighting this disease. Going day-by-day with fatigue and still managing to hold their head up high in the spirit of keeping everyone else around them that little bit more at ease. The strength and willpower is something I will forever be in awe of.

It’s scary how, in the blink of an eye, things can go from good to bad, and how hard it is to focus on the ‘remaining’ good in your life. I cannot stress enough how important it is to make the most out of the little things in life and not take a single ounce of your being for granted. You may be having an off day and its okay to take that at face value but remember that there is most possibly someone out there who is experiencing a lot worse than you are.

I hold my hands up wholeheartedly and will admit that I do have my moments where my judgement is clouded by my own selfish thoughts, but I now realise how crucial it is to make the most out of the time we have. You really don’t know what is to come tomorrow, next week or two years down the line.

One question that was, and still is, always floating about in my head is ‘Will this feeling ever go away?’ In all honesty? Probably not. Well, not entirely anyway. Death invites with it so many questions, each bringing increasing sadness and a heavier heart. The moment I was confronted with the fact that I wouldn’t see this person again, I felt an overwhelming sensation of loss and pure emptiness. At first you start to think that this is how you’re going to feel from now on, but that’s wrong! Eventually, stressing on eventually, you will come to accept the situation.

Despite initial doubts, life does have a funny way of miraculously working itself out for the better, just when you start to believe it never will. I have learnt is that it takes patience as things get better with time. Pushing the pain to one side by honouring that person’s afterglow and savouring the moments and memories of that person can help you to distance yourself from the hurt.

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