In "The Healing Power of a Selfie" I shared an essay by Melanie Di Stante. She also wrote a children's book for families dealing with cancer.
Her small paperback A Purple Card for Papa offers a gentle way to encourage kids who are dealing with cancer in the family to talk about what's going on in their own home. With friendly illustrations by Rosauro Ugang, the book touches on basic issues, such as how an ill parent's fatigue can cause that parent to seem to disinterested in playing with the children.
The opening illustration portrays their family at a cancer walk. Purple balloons add a pop of bright color. On page 2, Di Stante acknowledges the sadness about a loved one's illness. She offers a healing response: "When you help others, you feel better inside yourself and make someone else feel good." The story concludes with the children feeling empowered by making purple cards for their ill father.
This image is not fantasy. As I shared 20 years ago in my ultra-short story, HEARTS, "Yesterday a cardboard heart was slipped under my door...It read, 'I love you, Mom.' Hearts have blossomed in my home." Amidst the awfulness of my illness, a trail of hearts began that continues to this day. I believe a similar trail is growing in the Di Santos home.
"The greatest gift we can give our children is not protection from the world but the confidence and tools to cope and grow." (When a Parent has Cancer)