Published Essays

Perspective | The last crane: On parenting a dying child

When I was a new mother, I focused on firsts – the first smile, the first step, the first day of school – and all the countless, tiny triumphs in between that are the reward of motherhood. Even so, those years were hard.

How do you enforce bedtime and table manners when your kid has cancer? Sometimes you don’t.

Two weeks ago, my 14-year-old daughter was too tired to get up for school, and I told her to go back to sleep. I went downstairs, informed my husband she’d be staying home and said, “Another parenting decision brought to you by cancer.” Tired for my daughter is not the same as tired for another kid.

Never Leaving Wonderland

Jacqueline Dooley Three years ago I spent the entire month of September by my daughter’s side in her hospital room. From Ana’s window, we watched summer fade into fall as we waited, day after day, for her to be discharged, which finally happened i…

I’m Giving Up on Parental Control, Now That My Child Is Dying

On a recent Tuesday morning, I awoke to a set of tasks that needed doing – getting my 12- and 15-year-old daughters out of bed, making their lunches, taking the dog out and (hopefully) sneaking in a quick shower before driving my older daughter to school 45 minutes away.

How Getting a Puppy Helped My Terminally Ill Teen

The puppy was 10 weeks old and a little over a pound the day we brought him home. He was a fancy mutt, a combination miniature poodle and Yorkshire terrier (yorkie-poo) that will likely grow no larger than five or six pounds.

What Childhood Cancer Has Taken Away From My Family

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This is my second post about it. Why two posts? Because nearly 16,000 kids in the U.S. are newly diagnosed with cancer each year–43 every single day. According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 2000 children and adolescents up to age 19 die of cancer each year.

5 Years of Childhood Cancer Awareness And Counting

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and our color is gold. We gild our profile pictures and status updates with it in solidarity, driven to highlight the tiny warriors in our lives–the survivors, those still fighting and the dear ones we’ve lost.

Accepting Death as a Part of Life

I talked to the hospice coordinator for the first time last week. I’d been putting it off, even after my daughter’s oncologist said it was probably time, even after I met with the pediatric palliative care team over the phone and started asking not-so-hard questions. “Have you worked with teenagers before?”