Chaudhri, who lives in Canada, was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in June last year. Picture: @DrNadiaChaudhri/Twitter
Chaudhri, who lives in Canada, was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in June last year. Picture: @DrNadiaChaudhri/Twitter

Mom shares heartbreaking story of telling her young son she’s dying of cancer

By Marchelle Abrahams Time of article published May 12, 2021

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There’s no handbook for telling your child the most devastating news. No amount of Google searches or self-help books can stem the tide of grief when you know you won’t get to share the special milestones, like watching them graduate or falling in love for the first time.

For neuroscientist Dr Nadia Chaudhri, it took all her strength and self-control to tell her son that she was dying from cancer.

Chaudhri, who lives in Canada, was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in June last year. For the past few months, she has been advocating for cancer patients to be on Quebec's Covid-19 vaccine priority list.

Her cancer journey has been gruelling. Chaudhri, an associate professor in the psychology department at Concordia University, went through 18 weeks of chemotherapy without a family member or friend to accompany her for support because of the no-visitor policy prompted by the pandemic, the Montreal Gazette reported.

This week, she took to Twitter to share with her 25K followers that instead of prolonging the inevitable, she’s decided to tell her son that she was dying.

“Today Is the day I tell my son that I’m dying from cancer. It’s reached a point where he has to hear it from me. Let all my tears flow now so that I can be brave this afternoon. Let me howl with grief now so that I can comfort him,” she wrote.

After an outpouring of support, Chaudhri shared a picture of mom and son sharing a tender moment, saying: “Our hearts broke. We cried a lot. And then the healing began.

“My son is brave. He is bright. He will be okay. And I will watch him grow from wherever I am. Today was the hardest day of my life. Thank you for all for your love.”

Many parents drew inspiration from her post, and shared stories of their own.

“It’s so tough. We’re an ocean apart but I feel like our stories connect. My kids have been living with me Dying for more than 2 years now. It’s not easy, but has become our new normal with lots of happy everyday,” said one mom.

Another suggested making memory videos to celebrate special events in the future: “Make videos for his future special days (graduations, weddings, first job, first break up) so he’ll be able to continue to feel your love, wisdom, sympathy and pride.

“Set up an email address for him, journal to him and provide him the UN&PW during one of your videos.”

A Twitter used thanked her for her honesty after he went through the same experience with his own mother, saying: “My mother was this honest with me about her cancer when I was your son's age.

“Her honesty and courage have had a lasting effect on me and those around her.”

If you or a family member is in need of grief counselling, contact Sadag on its 24-hour helpline: 0800 456 789

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