You got the clean bill of health from your doctor and it’s time to reclaim your life at home. Your loved ones have come to know you through the course of your treatments as an un-well version of yourself. Now that you’re better, how can you rebuild your family?
Younger children can be more resilient to change and may simply be happy to have a playful parent again. Taking time out to giggle and be silly will help them feel safe, secure, and confident that you’re no longer sick. Older children may need more time to trust that you’re well, and that they can once again rely on you to help them with homework, take them to activities, or be at their games.
Any little health setback–whether you simply sneeze or get a cold–may make your kids think you’re ill again. Reassure them that just as they sometimes get sick and get better, so can you. Doing things together, like cooking, baking, or reading, gives them one-on-one time to reconnect with you and rebuild that trust.
Teenagers may be happy that they can focus a little more on themselves again and not have to pitch in so much with the household duties. Don’t be surprised if spending more quality time with them becomes more difficult after you’re well. They may be busy rebuilding a social life that they had to put on hold when you were sick. Let them have their space, but let them know you’re available. Let them choose something they’re interested in that you can do together.
Your Spouse or Partner
Your partner held the family together while you were sick. Now you have time to focus on your relationship rather than on your cancer, but intimacy may take some time, especially if your partner took over the majority of household and family duties. Don’t expect everything to be ‘normal’ again just like that. Take small steps: whether it’s talking about your feelings, sharing the day’s activities, or even the physical aspects of your relationship. The most important aspect of healing is keeping the lines of communication open and flowing. If this aspect becomes challenging, you may need to seek counseling. If your partner won’t agree to counseling, it can still help you to go alone.
Old and New Family Activities
Engaging in family activities you used to do before cancer will bring back old memories and put you back in touch with the stability and warmth of the family unit. Once it’s re-established, add in new and exciting memories so the family can build a new dynamic and continue looking toward a cancer-free future with you.