Meet Marion

Marion is another local Rolleston resident and has opened up to share her journey as a family member with cancer. She lost her mother due to stomach cancer. Here’s her story:

Site Identity

Talking with Marion:

Christian, practical, family-orientated

By the time my mom was diagnosed, the cancer was already stage four. It had spread to her lungs and other organs so she did not really have many treatment options available to her.

When I was told the diagnosis, we did not know that it was already stage 4 . My reaction was “Cancer is treatable!” I got busy organizing and helping others so I guess I did not really process it myself. When it became apparent that my mom would not be coming out of hospital, I withdrew from a lot of things I was involved in at the time and turned my energy into doing practical things that needed to be done.

My family members each responded in their own way. Part of learning how to get through this time was learning to accept the different ways in which everyone deals with trauma and grief. There is not a right or wrong way to do this. We learnt to give each other grace and accept that it’s fine to be sad sometimes, it’s fine to sit in silence sometimes, it’s also fine to talk about the hurt sometimes. We don’t always have to be happy.

It was around 6 weeks from the day my mom was diagnosed to the day we held her funeral, so it was a relatively short space of time to deal with a lot of emotions.

There are a couple of people who stand out in my mind as encouraging. They weren’t afraid of asking about my mom’s medical condition. They would ask about her so they were informed and not making assumptions and so that they could pray. They would ask how we were managing with getting meals on the table, getting the kids to school in between hospital visits, managing the medical bills, doing grocery shopping etc. It was evident that these people cared enough to listen to long answers and had time for us as a family. It was encouraging knowing they cared.

In circumstances where someone has cancer it is often overwhelming for them to think about the future and grief is very unpredictable. Taking the time to find out what they need and listen to them is as important as helping practically. When our own mortality stares at us, having somebody who puts aside time for us makes us feel valued. This is important. Every person is valuable and we should strive to help people know that they are important.

Dealing with the circumstances around my mom’s cancer made me realize how relational we as human beings are. My mom’s passing away fuelled my desire to be more intentional in my relationships with my own children and those around me. I try to intentionally connect with people around me so that if they need something – maybe I can help?

Being available to listen when people just wish to talk about what they’re going through really helps. It is often a good start to know where to help practically as well and it really lets people know how much you care for them. Helping a family going through cancer is an emotional journey and can take its toll on relationships so go in with a lot of grace and take it one step at a time.

Accept help from others and ask for help when you need it. “No man is an island” and we should give and receive help much more often than any of us would like to admit!

I am thankful for my faith in God. Although the journey was difficult, my faith in God has enabled me to see His providence and grace in my life. In learning to put my hope in Christ alone, I must trust in His sovereignty. This means that I cannot live with regrets or wish that things had been different – even when bad things happen to good people in a broken world. That’s when trust is the hardest so that’s when we need it the most.

Marion, thank you for sharing your struggles of your journey of seeing your mum battle her cancer. You are very intentional with your relationships and are a source of encouragement to many. Your purposefulness and thoughtfulness for others is a blessing in many people’s lives. I have certainly benefitted personally from your friendship!

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