Patricia McMorrow | 12.22.14
As the mom of a child who has been fighting a brain tumor for two and a half years, the holidays haven’t always been easy for Nicole Pierson, her husband and her three young children. Below she has written a Christmas letter to all those who are experiencing a hospital stay or health challenge this holiday season.
My Christmas Letter to You
Decorations, giving, gatherings and fun. Snow, hot cocoa and warming up by the fireplace. This is what comes to mind when I think of the holidays. I picture my children’s faces Christmas morning as they run down the stairs and simultaneously attempt to peel their eyes open, still half asleep.
Celebrating holidays has always represented happiness and joy in my heart. The magic of the season makes everything seem a little brighter, and this has proven especially true when life’s hardships are presented.
The first year we went through the holidays after Gavin’s brain tumor diagnosis, everything was different. The really hard days made others brighter. Despite all he had endured, he was looking forward to Christmas and made a list of toys. He had a distraction from the struggles and experienced the magic like he had for five years before.
What Really Matters
When you may lose your child, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t get that deal on Black Friday, or that your Christmas cookies didn’t turn out. All of the things that used to add stress and steal joy from the season now seem unimportant. Instead, as a family we now focus on the true meaning of Christmas and are thankful for the small things.
The day after Christmas that first year, we found out Gavin’s brain tumor was growing significantly. I am so thankful we had Christmas and that for a day, he could feel like a kid and open his presents. The next day back to fighting the tumor we went.
The following year Gavin was doing much better, but unfortunately an unexpected, life-threatening complication had us in the hospital over Thanksgiving for eight days. Our family brought us dinner, and Gavin just had pizza. He thought it was fun having pizza on Thanksgiving and we made the best of it.
In our experience, holidays are meant to celebrate life and each other and giving. Although we have had struggles during the season, we still have found happiness. We hugged each other a little tighter and truly embraced the love and meaning behind this time of year.
If you have hardships this season, I hope that you too can find joy amongst pain and you can still remember the reason for the season. Shine bright!
– The Piersons
How Do You Celebrate the Holidays?
What keeps you focused on the important things during this busy time? Share what fills you with joy and hope during the holiday season in the comments below.
Nicole Pierson is the mother of Gavin, a pediatric brain tumor survivor. Nicole is also a mathematics teacher with a Education specialist degree in Brain-based teaching. She speaks nationally about her son’s journey with compassionate use at various pharmaceutical conferences, and is the author of the memoir, Be Strong and Brave. Nicole lives in Ramsey, MN with her husband and three children.