For the month of October the Songs of Life group that I have been participating in chose the song “Brave” by Sarah Bareilles (listen here). This will likely be my most personal blog post to date since I am writing in honor of my daughter Elayna, who is FINISHED with her cancer treatment. My little girl is now in remission and life is bright!
What comes to mind when you think of the word “brave”?
My five-year-old daughter is what comes to mind for me. She told me, moments before having her third major abdominal surgery, that “being brave means doing things we have to do, no matter how scared we are.” Wise words from a little girl who was fighting to beat cancer and who just wanted to be allowed to go home and play again.
I think that I will always see her face when I think of what it means to be brave. I know that her strength has guided me many times already, and I’m sure it will continue to do so in the days and years ahead.
They say that watching a child battle cancer will change your life forever, and I think that’s true.
Life is precious. Live it. Laugh and love and LIVE. If you’re fighting… keep fighting because it’s worth it. If you’re not fighting at the moment, cherish that. If you are feeling safe, look around to find someone else who is fighting and help them.
When shooting for this month’s blog post I simply photographed Elayna at the hospital on a day that we had chemo, and then again when she was able to be outside. I hope that these images convey that there is beauty in being brave, and that even when you are forced to fight you can find joy in life. Elayna certainly does.
During treatment she was often known by her smile and her joy in running through the hospital halls with her cape on. No matter what we were doing that day, whether it was chemotherapy, radiation, or another clinic visit, she always chose to do it smiling.
Elayna has always loved the song “Brave,” which made this even more fitting. Even before diagnosis we would sing it out loud in the car and talk about it. Now I connect most with the lyrics, “Everybody’s been there, Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy. Fallen for the fear, and done some disappearing. Bow down to the mighty. Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue.
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live. Maybe one of these days you can let the light in. Show me how big your brave is.”
Elayna’s brave is pretty big.
If you want to stop holding your tongue and be brave enough to do something about childhood cancer, please consider donating to an organization like www.childrensoncologygroup.org. Funding really does make a difference and pediatric cancer is a field where research saves lives. Lives like my daughter’s.
Thank you! Now check out another photographer’s take on the song “Brave” by going to the talented Sharon Spall of Sharon Spall Photography’s page.