LAST Tuesday, episode nine of Talk Up Yout focused on youths with parents who suffer terminal illnesses. The phrase terminal illness is used to describe any disease that cannot be cured or adequately treated.
Many youths each year, lose a parent to these illnesses. Talk Up host Emprezz spoke to Dominic, who lost a parent suddenly and Howard, whose mother is currently suffering from colon cancer.
Dominic lost his mother many years ago to colon cancer, yet it is still quite a traumatic event for him. At the time he was in grade six, knew she was sick but had hope that she would survive. He was very close to his mother, he said, as she acted like his teacher, always helping him with his studies.
After his mom passed he feared letting out his feelings; not wanting to cry because of fear of discrimination. Even though his father was there for him, he didn’t know who to turn to.
Howard, in giving his story, revealed that his mother suffers from stage four colon cancer, which is quite aggressive. Like Dominic, Howard and his mom are very close and talk for hours on the phone each day. But, as the cancer began to attack her body, she could no longer recognise her son.
“Her body has began to deteriorate rapidly. She is losing weight and even has to use a wheelchair when coming from the airport,” he said.
All these series of events took a toll on him, but he still felt obligated to be the tower of strength for his family, as his mother once was.
Clinical psychologist Audeya Fuller-Reid stated that parents may be a form of identity or stability for many children and when there is the possibility of them losing a parent their identity and stability may be threatened. Fuller-Reid also stated that if a child’s parent or parents are suffering terminal illnesses, it is important that they spend time with them, resolve conflicts and leave nothing unsaid.
Dominic and Howard offered advice to children who are going through similar experience: ‘Look to God and pray because this all happens for a reason’.