I told my son this morning that Steve Jobs has passed away after losing his battle with cancer. He knows of Steve Jobs from previous Apple keynotes and, from previous talks we’ve had, knows he was also a big part of Pixar and thus responsible for so many of the wonderful films my son loves.
He was down about it – perhaps more saddened than I was! He was quiet as he got ready for school and on the drive in suddenly piped up with:
“I really hate cancer. I know you said I shouldn’t say I hate anything but I really, really, really, really hate cancer.”
What a profound statement for a seven year old to make.
“That’s ok,” I told him, “I hate cancer too.”
“CANCER, I HATE YOOOOOOU!” he shouted.
I felt compelled to join in and within seconds we were both shouting ‘I hate cancer, cancer I hate you,’ a t the top of our lungs in the car.
It felt bizarrely empowering to express that level of hatred for something that has cost both me and my son our Mothers.
“Why are there no tablets you can take for cancer, Dad?” he asked.
I explained how difficult it is to cure cancer, how the cells mutate and how it can spread. He followed and understood quite well.
I told him about the charities working to cure cancer – many of which he has come across before.
Before he got out of the car he told me,
“We should make a book and sell it and give all the money to Cancer research so they might find a cure faster.”
“Great idea, kiddo. What will your book be about?”
“I’m going to write a book with poems and stories in about why I hate cancer so much.”
I kissed him.
“We’ll plan it tonight, kiddo.”
And we will. I will encourage him every step of the way, not just because of the actual donations I’m confident he will raise for charity, but because this will empower him. This will make him feel like he can actually do something about cancer – like he is actually doing something against it and that will go really far in enabling him to process his own loss of his Mother.
Today in particular, I am incredibly, incredibly proud of my little man.