In March 2017, Sara Chivers and her family received devastating news. After nearly nine years since she was first diagnosed with a rare brain tumor, doctors discovered the cancer had come back and this time it was terminal.
Since her most recent diagnosis she’s received a variety of treatments, including chemotherapy and surgery. It was during this time that Chivers’ youngest son Alfie was also diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer.
After learning that her cancer was terminal, the mother of two penned a letter of advice to her two sons. The letter was published in The New Daily.
“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 …”
In 2008, Chivers was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer.
The 34-year-old was able to successfully beat cancer the first time, but as she told Babble, she knew it was still in her and the possibility that it could come back was real.
“I always knew the cancer was lying dormant, but I didn’t want to put my life on hold in fear of its return,” she told Babble. “It was an MRI in March this year that revealed three new tumors and my worst fears were realized: inoperable, incurable, terminal.”
She was cancer free for nearly nine years, until doctors discovered three growths on her brain.
In writing a letter to her boys Chivers wanted to “honor my impact on their lives and leave behind a legacy for them.” According to Babble the hardest thing about her terminal diagnosis was that she wouldn’t be able to be a mother for her sons.
Although, the letter she wrote them offers the boys plenty of motherly advice.
She touched on some her favorite things while expressing her confidence in her husband Leigh’s ability to raise them, but wanted to make sure they received some motherly advice directly from her.
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.
Chivers knows her time is limited with her family, but is focused on making every moment count.
In her letter, the 34-year-old advised her children to study hard in school, but also to try new things like sports or a language. She urged them to “be brave in your convictions,” have good table manners, and remember that family should always come first.
Always try your best; I could never ask any more of you. Never fear failure – you will learn more from mistakes than successes. There’s never anything more certain than change so embrace it. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Travel as much as possible – it will shape who you are.
Be brave in your convictions and believe in yourself. Never tease or ridicule someone because they’re different to you. You will be a better person by surrounding yourself with people who will challenge your views and beliefs.
Her letter to her sons is heartbreaking.
Chivers wants to make sure her sons, Hugh and Alfie, look after their father after she’s gone and assures them that should the time come that their father finds happiness with someone else, they should embrace it.
“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,” she wrote.
She packed a lifetime’s worth of advice into one letter.
Chivers has since undergone numerous treatments, which have shrunk two of the growths on her brain and allowed for parts of the third to be surgically removed. She and her doctors hope that it will give her more time with her family, but when that day comes, she wants her boys to be prepared. And though it will be extremely difficult for the family, they will have this beautiful letter to look back on, along with all the memories they’ve already created with each other.