It is 2016 which means 2015 is behind us. What can that mean for a pediatric cancer family?

As they embark on a new year it can mean many things. For a family in the midst of a child’s cancer treatment, it is one step closer to the end of treatment if the child is on a defined plan or it could mean one more step closer to a trial that may save their child’s life. It may also mean worry over whether or not this will be the last year their child will be with them.

For a family with a child in remission, it can also mean many different things. Relief that 2015 is behind them bringing them further away from cancer treatment or bringing them closer to the worries and “scanxiety” as they approach the upcoming MRI or other scan. It can mean setting new goals for what needs to be done in 2016 to help them adjust to their new life with a child in need of extra support at school or medical issues because of the long-term effects of the treatment.

For a grieving family, it may mean saying goodbye to the last year in which their child was alive or another year they will be starting without their child. It may also mean days closer to some really scary firsts like the first anniversary of their child’s death. It, too, may mean a sense of relief that they made it through the holidays once again without their child by their side.

What’s my point? It’s hard for these families as they adjust to life and the new year. So, if you happen to know someone who falls in one of these categories, maybe give them an extra hug, send them a card to let you know you are thinking of them, call them to say hello or send a text. Simply saying I know I don’t get it but I care that you are hurting is more valuable than saying nothing at all.