The Goodbye Cancer Garden

10 Apr

Due to increased awareness and earlier detection, more and more “younger” women are now being diagnosed with breast cancer. This is actually a good thing, because, when found early, this awful disease is so much more survivable. However, this also means that many of these “younger” women who are being diagnosed with breast cancer are mothers of young children.

That raises a new issue – what do you tell your children about the cancer? How many details do you include? And when is the best time to do it?

Once treatment starts, it gets pretty hard to keep cancer a secret.

I remember my nine-year-old son being so devastated that I might lose my hair. He couldn’t even begin to comprehend that he might lose his mother.

Now there is a wonderful new children’s picture book available that deals with this difficult issue. It’s called The Goodbye Cancer Garden. Written from the heart, mother and author Janna Matthies penned this sensitive story during her own breast cancer journey. Here’s what it’s about:

One winter day, Mom and Dad tell Janie and Jeffrey that Mom has cancer. Soon the whole family goes to the doctor to ask questions.

“Is Mom better yet?” Jeffrey asks. “Not yet,” the doctor says. “But we’re working very hard to make her better—probably by pumpkin time.”

That gives Janie an idea: to plant a vegetable garden.

As the garden grows, Mom’s treatment progresses—and when it’s all done, there are healthy pumpkins and a recovering Mom!

By far the best picture book addressing the cancer issue that I’ve ever found, The Goodbye Cancer Garden is a story about growing what families need most — a garden of hope.


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