Erica’s Cancer Journey: “Contemplations about my kids”

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”
– Kahlil Gibran

“You know your children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from and refuse to tell you where they’re going.”
– P. J. O’Rourke

With a terminal disease, I am living my fullest life while keeping an eye on the not-so-distant future knowing that I won’t see my kids reach adulthood. Can one “cram” mothering? These are some of the questions on my heart for them.


I love you both with all my being. Love, Mom


1. When did you outgrow McD’s PlayPlace?

2. What prompts your ever-evolving clothing choices and hairstyles?

3. Does needing me less mean loving me less?

4. How has your childhood changed since my cancer diagnosis?

5. When was the last time I carried you? Nursed you? Wiped you?

6. Does cancer feel scary to you?

7. What reminds you of me?

8. Are you afraid of losing your dad, too?

9. How much do you wish I knew about your life?

10. Are you going to stop eating Special K bars the second I buy a case of them?

11. What stands out as a strong childhood memory?

12. Can you hear it when I tell you how you are so perfectly you? That I believe in you and your choices, strength, courage, wisdom, experience, authenticity and love? That I am with you for always, no matter what?

13. Do you know that you can form your own family of beloved friends, beyond your family of origin?

14. Do you feel that you have a place in the world?

15. What is most important to you right now?

16. What do you yearn to hear me say to you?

17. What centers you?

18. What didn’t happen? What did we miss?

19. When are the times you miss me the most?

20. How do you wish your life were different right now?

Head On and Heart Strong!

Love, Erica

Kids’ Almanac columnist Erica Chase-Salerno was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in the Summer of 2015. To read more about her experience, visit

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