Mira's Month

Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Published by The Blood & Marrow Information Network
2900 Skokie Valley Road, Highland Park, IL 60035
Phone: 847.433.3313, toll-free: 1.888.597.7674
Fax: 847.433.4599 Web: www.bmtnews.org

Copyright 1994, reprinted with permission from the publisher
Cover Design: Cheryl Steiger
Layout: Desktop Edit Shop
Printing: R.R. Donnelley Company
Made possible by a grant from the Auxiliary Foundation of the Woman's Club of Evanston

by Deborah Weinstein-Stern
illustrated by Beth Roy

Mira was a little girl, actually a big girl of four years old. She was happy in her life. It was full of friends, cousins, fun times, a wonderful house, a backyard and two parents who loved her and were lot of fun.
One day Mira learned something hard to hear: Mom had cancer. Cancer is a sickness, except often you don't really feel sick from it. Mira's Mom had cancer for the first time before Mira was born. Now it came back and the doctors were concerned. There are lots of people in America with cancer and doctors are working very hard to cure them.
Mira wondered how her Mom could have something serious like cancer. She didn't seem sick. She ran, went to work, laughed, kept the house clean, played with Mira and cooked dinner, so . . . Mira was puzzled.
One day Mira's Mom explained to her that she had to go to the hospital for a whole month to get some very strong medicine to fight cancer inside her, so it would not come back again. Mira's Mom didn't want to go to the hospital and be away from Mira for a month, but the doctors said she had to -- or else she could get really really sick from the cancer. When Mira heard about the month in the hospital, she felt like crying. So did her mom.
How was she going to get along without her Mom for a whole month? Mira knew what a month looked like cause in school she learned about calendars and a month is 30 sleeps.
Once Mira's Mom went to the hospital, Mira discovered something that surprised her: it wasn't as hard as she thought it would be! In fact, she felt kind of grown up -- she and her Dad could manage, the two of them. And Grandma and Grandpa and her Aunts Judy, Sue, Rachel, and Ruthie and her Uncles Jeffrey, Danny and Micahel were real nice too -- they took her on special outings. Friends brought dinner over and had Mira and her Dad to their home for suppoer, and even Mira's teachers and school friends were extra nice and helpful.
Mira noticed how much love there was in her world, even when the most important person, her Mom, was missing.
When Mira went to visit her Mom in the hospital it was hard sometimes. First of all, her Mom was bald!! The special medicine to fight the cancer made her hair fall out; but it would grow back and when her Mom came home from the hospital she would wear a wig or a scarf to cover her bald head until her own hair grew back.
The other hard thing about the hospital was that Mira's Mom looked thin and kind of pale and was tired alot. Mira couldn't kiss her either becuase of maybe giving her germs. When she went in her Mom's room she had to wash her hands and wear a mask. Everyone told Mira that in a while her Mom would look her old self again and Mira tried to believe them.
Sometimes Mira would miss her Mom in the middle of the day at school and feel like crying. But when she felt like this, she learned to tell one of her teachers and then she'd get a big hug and in a little while she felt better.
Mira wanted the month to be over already, so her Mom could be home and they could laugh and cuddle and snuggele and talk and play like before.
One night before Mira fell asleep she lay awake and thought of her Mom lying in a different bed across the city and how neat it was that two people could be thinking of each other at the same time in two different places. She kissed her pillow.
Finally the Big Day arrived -- Mom was coming home!! Mira was excited but she also felt different -- like she was a bigger girl than when her Mom left for the hospital.
"I'm bigger now," she said to both her parents when Mom was safe and sound at home again. "I know I can get along without my Mom. I can brush my teeth and get dressed and go to school and have fun. I missed you, but I learned a lot too. Not just about hospitals, but about how strong I am, and how strong love is, and how I can help myself feel better when I feel sad or lonely."
"Mira," her Mom said, "I'm so very proud of you. Sometimes life can be hard, but if you learn and grow from it, then you become an even better person."
Mira hugged and kissed her Mom and her Mom kissed her back. They both had been through something very hard -- and they both felt proud of each other.