Last summer, the daughter of a close friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer. Her daughter is six.
What do you say to someone who has just found out that their daughter has cancer? Nothing. No words are appropriate, especially when you are not a parent and couldn’t even begin to understand what this means, what it will come to mean, and everything they will have to face in the next few months.
So I did the only thing I could do. I went to work on a special project.
It’s hard to see from the picture, but the color is a very soft pastel pink, pink being her most favorite color in the whole wide world. The yarn is made from bamboo and it’s very soft to the touch—perfect for a sensitive scalp.
And because she is a twin, I made one for her sister.
This one is a deep cream color. Her favorite color is orange—sadly there was no orange bamboo yarn.
And because there is another sister, only a year younger, I made one for her as well.
This one is green, blue, and white. I couldn’t get just blue, her favorite color.
And because their youngest sister was born less than a year prior to the diagnosis, I made one for her as well.
This one is a pale green. Being just a year old, she has yet to have a favorite color (though I’m declaring it for her).
I wish I had a picture of the four hats together. But I gave them to the girls as I was finished with them. I wanted the oldest to have her hat before she lost her hair. The others I finished and gave in succession.
This project was the first step in showing my support for this tremendous family. They have had to endure so much, especially the oldest child. She is too young yet to know what she really has gone through, that it has already made her a stronger person than I will ever be.
But this project means so much more to me since the little girl has worn it non-stop. It has gone through every treatment, every hospital visit and stay, every difficult step along the way, the tears, the pain, the sadness, and the happy times, too, just being home with her sisters, mom, and dad, watching a Disney Princess movie. She never takes it off. She cries when it needs to be washed. She panics if she can’t find it. She has worn it so much that it is stretched out beyond belief—it’s now more of a mask than a hat. Still, she continues to wear it.
How is it that my one simple gift—something I did out of desperation for a lack of anything I could say to make it better—has meant so much to her during the most difficult time she has ever (and hopefully will ever) experienced?
In the last month she has been declared in remission. While she has several years of scans and close monitoring in front of her, there is no reason that she cannot lead a normal and healthy childhood.
Soon we will attend her remission celebration party. What better gift to give her than a fresh new hat for a fresh new start?