Every Day Counts: Lessons in Love, Faith, and Resilience from Children Facing Illness
Maria Sirois, Psy.D.
Wisdom and inspiration for us all.
When Maria Sirois did her psychology internship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's pediatric oncology ward valuable life lessons abounded from the children she counseled, lessons that can guide anyone through a difficult time into a more meaningful life. Astounded by the children's ability to adapt, to be giving, forgiving, and creative even while in pain, she learned that they seemed to know intuitively what adults struggle to remember - that playing builds resiliency; kindness always helps, love is not a cure but is a powerful antidote to pain; meaning in life comes not from what happens to us but who we are in response to what happens; and every day counts, even if it's a bad day, it still counts.
Every Day Counts gently leads us through the emotional minefield of life-threatening illness' and reveals how having an open heart allows hope and joyfulness to coexist with pain and crisis. The lessons of these children touch not only their families but their therapists, doctors, and nurses, who strive to cope with the ongoing strain of caring for the seriously ill, of being touched by grief yet not consumed by it. Maria revels in the big triumphs - some kids cured or in remission - and in the momentary victories, such as that of a seven-year-old, scheduled to have her leg amputated, who challenges Maria to a hopping race and gleefully celebrates, "I'm winning, I'm winning." The children's innocence, joy, vulnerability, humor, and courage are gifts that can help us all live more fully awakened, more resilient to the difficult moments, and more prepared to fall in love with our own lives again and again.
Praise for Every Day Counts
"Every Day Counts lives the message. As a pediatric surgeon I had the greatest teachers in the world, children, as my patients. This book will touch your heart and bring you to tears and laughter. My hope is you will have the courage to read it and learn how to live from those who are wise, because of their life experience, even though they are young."
- Bernie Siegel, M.D., author of Love, Medicine & Miracles
"There is courage here, and depth; it's something you can lean on in tough times."
- Paul Newman
"Most afflictions of dying children are not contagious, but Maria Sirois reminds us that if we approach them with open hearts, we can catch some of their courage and faith."
- Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
"From kids whose bravery elicits tears to kids who inspire by shaping their attitudes toward cancer to suit their needs, these children are genuinely inspirational."
- Donna Chavez, Booklist.
"...As we peer through the opening she (Maria) provides we find ourselves gazing up on a landscape blooming with wisdom and guidance for each of us as we confront the cancers of our own lives. It is a world upside down where children teach adults and soulfulness fills every page and from which we emerge just a little more human."
- Mark Hyman, M.D. author, ULTRAPREVENTION