Sara Chivers is fighting the battle of her life. At 34 years old, the mother of two learned that she had terminal brain cancer, but that was only the beginning of her fight. Just a few months later, she found out that her 18-month-old son was diagnosed with a different, rare type of brain cancer: atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor. "Alfie's diagnosis has given me something else to fight for," Sara told Australia's The New Daily. "It's not about me anymore. It's all about him."
In 2008, Sara was in remission. After three surgeries and radiation, she was able to live her life to the fullest for nine years. But as her sister describes on the family's GoFundMe page, which she set up for daily expenses, her cancer is terminal and she is now working for a better quality of life. Alfie's cancer is "very rare and aggressive" and he too has been through surgeries and treatment, but they are fighting together.
In the face of her terminal diagnosis, the mom penned a letter to her 3-year-old son, Hugh, and baby Alfie filled with heartbreaking bits of all the things she wants her boys to know when she's gone.
Dear Hugh and Alfie,
I won't be around to see you grow up. It's a hard thing to say and even harder to face. You will have to hear from others the little things that made me, me: my perfume of choice is Michael Kors, my favorite meal is spaghetti bolognese, Winter is my preferred season. I wish I was a better cook . . . I know your Dad, and our village of family and friends, will keep me alive for you as much as they can, but there are some things I want you to hear from me . . .
Love hard. As they say, it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. That's how I feel about you both. Heartbroken doesn't come close to describing the pain I feel at not being in your lives in the future, but I would never change or forego the time we have spent together and the immense joy you have brought me. You are without a doubt my proudest accomplishments.
Pay attention to study but know there is so much more to school life than textbooks. Play team sports. Try a musical instrument. Learn a language. . .
Be kind to your Dad. It won't be easy for him raising you alone, but every decision he makes will be with your best interests at heart. He is an exceptional father and role model. Don't let him doubt himself or the wonderful job he will do shaping you into the men I dream of you growing up to be.
There will come a time when he wants to find happiness again with a new partner. Accept and embrace his choice, and know she will be a positive female influence in your lives, too. I have absolute faith that he will make the right decision, for him and you both, and I hope she enriches your lives as much as you've all enriched mine.
Your Dad is the most admirable, courageous man I have ever known. He is my companion, my rock, my everything. He has shown true grit in the face of our adversities, and without him beside me, I would have crumbled.
I will be forever grateful for the time we spent together, the memories we created, the love we shared. It was always him. Always will be.
Although Sara's letter to her sons is incredibly sad, it's a special reminder to everyone to not take any of life's gifts for granted, and a touching way for the boys to remember their mom and her huge heart.