Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



How to Cope When There’s No Hope

Eliezer Shulman

Chani Weinroth is just 31 years old, but for the last five years she’s lived with the knowledge that her days are numbered. What does she tell her children? How does she make it through the day’s “normal” tasks? How does she pull herself together as a wife and a mother when she knows the cancer living inside her is a ticking time bomb?

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The master clock in the Weinroth living room ticks on and on like a heartbeat. For most of us, it’s such a natural sound, we don’t even pay attention as it blends into the rhythm of everyday life. For Chani Weinroth, though, each tick is another second closer to death. This Erev Pesach, Chani told her children the secret she’d kept from them for the past five years: she has cancer, and there’s no cure. Ten-year-old Shira, nine-year-old Shlomo, and seven-year-old Naomi had one question. Would their mother die? “Probably,” she answered. Chani, 31, has been living with the knowledge that a slow, insidious, and incurable cancer has been festering in her internal organs. She’s not ready to say goodbye yet, but she knows her days are numbered, and felt it was time for full disclosure. Besides, she’s written a book (in Hebrew, not yet translated) about waking up every morning on the cusp of death. In the Land of Life: Charting a New Course — edited by acclaimed author Chaim Walder — is a sometimes shocking, often unnerving, but brutally honest account of a young mother facing all the ramifications of her mortality. To be sure, Chani’s children haven’t been oblivious over the last five years. They know their mother is very strict about her health, that sometimes she doesn’t feel well, and that many of her friends have lost their hair and some have died. And children have their own way of processing catastrophic information. Chani reviews a conversation she overheard with her son Shlomo and his friend Michoel. “They were in our living room on Pesach playing mini ping-pong, when Shlomo said to his friend, ‘Did you know that my mother has cancer?’ “Michoel said, as he hit the ball back, ‘Really?’ “Shlomo hit the ball back and said, ‘Yes, but the cancer is asleep.’ “Michoel hit it and said, ‘Oh.’ “Then Shlomo hit the ball and said, ‘But it can wake up.’ “Then they missed the ball, and it rolled under the couch.”


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
No Misunderstandings
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Hashem revealed the secret of a balanced life
What Was the Court’s Rush?
Yonoson Rosenblum The Democratic Party’s descent into madness
Survey? Oy Vey
Eytan Kobre How could YAFFED promote such a farce?
Filling the Void
Rabbi Henoch Plotnik Jewish leaders don’t need to be declared or coronated
Top 5 Ways We Remember Our Rebbeim (and we love them for it!)
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin An ode to these pivotal people in my life
Hanging On in Newark
Rabbi Nosson Scherman Rabbi Nosson Scherman remembers the shul of his youth
A Fine Kettle of Fish
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman The “minor” chasadim are often the most meaningful
The Next Hill
Jacob L. Freedman The look on Malachi’s face nearly broke my heart
Tradition and Modern Meet in One Long Dance
Riki Goldstein Fusing tradition and modernity comes naturally to him
A Playlist for Shabbos
Riki Goldstein What does Moshy Kraus sing at the Shabbos table?
With Flying Colors
Riki Goldstein My 15 seconds of fame on the Carnegie Hall stage
Full Faith
Faigy Peritzman With emunah, everyone’s obligation is the same
Speechless
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Silence isn’t always golden
The Only One
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Within every Jew is the flame of instinctive emunah