One year on, my child has taught me so much

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote a blog but sometimes, life just tells you to calm down and take some time out. So that’s what I did! With being a mum, running a Crystal Business, a Personal Growth Strategist and holding an amazing position as a senior leader in the education sector, I can honestly say I was worn out.

The past 12 months has been absolutely crazy for me and my family. Hearing last July that Aaron, my 8-year old, had Birkiitt’s lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) and this completely rocked my world and really made me reflect on everything that life is and what I want it to be. For those who don’t follow us on instagram, Aaron is fine as we caught the cancer at stage 1 so he is now in remission, with the very high likelihood this will continue into the future and the cancer will not return.

When I tell our summer 2023 story, people well up with tears and get really sad, but in all honestly, being in the oncology ward at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital was a humbling and enlightening experience for me. We were the ‘lucky’ family, Aaron had to have two rounds of chemotherapy and that was the lowest dose some of the doctors had ever seen! Not to take away from Aaron, he took the treatment and the diagnosis in his stride. He any was strong, positive, courageous and unphased.

The top-knot had to go, we shaved it and he accepted this fate, no moaning or self-sympathy. He couldn’t see any of his friends over the summer, play football or go on holiday, but that was ok, he could do this next year. Every hardship he had to face, he found the silver lining. He was incredible and made me reflect on the life I was leading, worrying about things out of my control and quite frankly, not that important in the grand scheme of things.

Looking around the hospital ward, I witnessed a spectrum of things around me. One minute a child was experiencing sickness, blood transfusions and medicine, the next they were running around with toys and laughing at something that an adult would consider ridiculous. It was eye-opening to me how resilient these children were. Don’t get me wrong, they struggled, especially when it came to needle time or the start of a chemo sessions, but it amazed me how, once these things had passed, they moved forward with courage and positivity. They picked themselves straight up and demonstrated more resilience than the majority of adults I know. Maybe because the word ‘CANCER’ did not have the connotations it had for an adult or they had not yet experienced how cruel this world really can be sometimes, I don’t know, but it inspired me to change the way I think.

They weren’t spending their time worrying about ‘what ifs’ or letting a possible negative future consume them, they focused on living their best life that very minute. What has past is gone and how can I make myself happy this very moment, basics- every minute at a time to create a happier place for them to exist.

Focusing on the positives in the present moment, that’s what the children taught me, that no amount of stress or worry would fix a problem out of my control. Easier said than done, I know. One step at a time I think, navigate every issue with a clear focus of remaining in the present moment- am ok right now? Do we have what we need in this moment? Reframing the thought patterns requires commitment but it can be done. I think of those children dealing with their situation positively when I’m feeling low or anxious- what would they do? How would they use the time you are wasting on procrastinating over something I have no control over? Just be conscious and observe the way you are thinking and be aware of your thought patterns.

Living in the present moment really will transform your life. You can not achieve this in a day, week or even a month but what the children in the hospital did teach me was there is no time to waste on things that, in a year’s time, will not even be relevant to me. Consider if the thing you are spending time over will be important in a year, if the answer is no, it really isn’t worth your time.

One thing we did find on the oncology ward was that crystals really helped the children with their mindset, they motivated them and they enjoyed having these ‘magical’ stones to support them on their journey. If you would like to donate a Crystal for Cancer for a child on the oncology ward at The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, you can follow the links on the website. It is the highlight of the holidays when Aaron returns to the ward to help those children still there with their battle. It is very much appreciated by my family and the families of those beautiful children living for today…

Love and healing

Jennie Clare xxx

August 13, 2023 — Jennie Arnold

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