The Greatest People on Earth
Chris Cox, Clearwater, FL
Chris Cox is a young adult who found himself fighting alongside his mother in her cancer diagnosis. Chris has so kindly and willingly taken a step back into those tough memories to share with us some insight into the life of a young adult caregiver. What was your initial response to your mom’s diagnosis? Honestly, when I first heard the news it just seemed unreal. I heard it, yes, but my brain didn’t let it register. I was in denial and completely without words. I never thought cancer would affect my immediate family let alone my best friend, my mother. Were you considered one of her caregivers? If so, how did attending the treatments and appointments affect you? Yes, I would bring her to the Moffitt Cancer Center and sit with her for an hour or so while she got her Chemo treatments. Her treatments changed a number of times during the duration of her fight. As much as I knew it wore on her, I definitely felt the exhaustion and uneasiness that she did too. Plus, my schedule had changed drastically in order to make all her appointments. My young adult life and later teenage years were not spent partying or hanging out with friends all the time. I missed a lot of ‘the life’ due to being a caregiver. What did you do to deal with the darkness and stay strong while having to watch her fight? I had been praying for my mother’s salvation for 10 years at this point and knew that the only way God was going to reach her was through my passionate pursuit to see her come to know God. During this dark time, I was grateful to have some friends and other family members who encouraged me and offered their assistance. I constantly asked for God’s guidance and strength because I HAD to be strong for her. By showing her how sad the situation was would have only made it worse. She fought because we were fighting with and for her. The truth is… I didn’t ‘deal with the darkness,’ the darkness came while I wasn’t ready and stormed during the entire process. The only reason my head was above water was because God showed me that this darkness was not bigger than him and this cancer was too real to just let the emotions and struggles sweep me off my feet. What was your greatest weapon in this fight? My greatest weapon was God’s constant pour out of love and affection. I was surrounded by a church that cared and a group of friends that were constantly checking up on me and offering to bring dinner and just be a support system. My family was constantly lifting each other up and being strong for each other like a reinforced wall. I felt God in every prayer, in every meal from a friend, in every encouragement by a family member, and I felt God working in mother’s heart during this dark time. What did you take away from watching your mom fight? How has that impacted who you are today? I was actually shocked. I didn’t think my mother had it in her to fight the way she did. She was so high spirited the entire time too. It was inspiring. I love and miss her so much. She may have lost the fight to cancer, but she gave it everything she had. It made me proud to be her son. It made me proud to be a Christian. Her fight with cancer along with the life she provided me before this came over her helped guide me to wanting a new legacy for my life and my future family. She truly inspired to continue pursuing God and to be the man God called me to be. I have been extremely impacted. You know, I have had an opportunity to minister to people who have or are going through the same thing. I can relate. It hurts to relate, but it’s great that God uses my testimony and experience to bring comfort to those who are dealing with or have dealt with cancer. I am more sensitive to the subject and losing her has surfaced emotions I didn’t know I had. I live with these emotions now, every day.