Cancer and Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All


This season is about seeing past cancer and remembering what is most important.

I know that this time of year holds a different and special meaning to each and every person. For me, ever since I was a little girl, Christmas has been hands-down my favorite time of year. The soft white snowflakes sparkle like a field of diamonds. Shining lights create a glow that many memories were made in. Warm cocoa by the fire and the smell of homemade baked goods filled our home every day in December. It is something that is very hard to tangibly explain, but to me, nothing else could ever compare to the magic of Christmas.

Yes, it is stressful. It is a time of year when we sometimes fret over the little things and fight with family. It is not as if all the worries melt away because the calendar says that a holiday is here. When my sister was diagnosed with cancer, all of these things were simply exasperated by the situation that we found ourselves in. Although it is a time that is usually filled with joy and happiness, that can be hard to remember with cancer.

As we get ready to celebrate our first post-cancer Christmas, I can’t help but to think about the last two years. Even despite not having enough time to do all that we once did, we must remember that a terminal diagnosis loomed over us and that we spent last Christmas Eve in a hospital. None of it ever mattered because Christmas came just the same.

What matters most this time of year was always very much in tact, possibly more so than it had been in years past because of all we had been through. My sister’s diagnosis brought focus to my life in more than one way. In one of the largest ways, it is that in the midst of it all, I am so very grateful for the enormous gift that we have been given through her gaining remission; this gift includes spending time with friends and family, sharing silly stories and memories over glasses of eggnog, taking it all in, and knowing just how close we came to losing it all.

Truly choosing to breathe in the spirit of the season. Yes, life continues to throw complications our way. The amount of difficulties that we are facing is beyond fair, cancer or no cancer.

The fact is that Christmas is here. No matter how much loss I have endured this year or how hard it is, I am making a choice to not lose my love of Christmas. I would much rather spend the holidays going through the motions than not celebrating the season at all. Because of all that my family has endured, I don’t know what the coming Christmases will bring. All I can do is recognize that this holiday season is here. We are still that family sitting around the tree making memories. And that is the greatest gift of all.

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