Anita Mahatme's Paper Rocket
When you hold this item what do you feel? This rocket has been hanging on my son’s wall since he finished his chemotherapy, which is six years ago now. And this is the first time I've taken it down to hold it. I always look at it when I go past his room, and it gives me a sense of comfort. But actually holding it, yes, that brings back a lot of memories and it does feel comfortable. It feels hopeful. It gives me hope.
Why is this item important to you? My precious little boy Varun made this rocket just after his 11th birthday, when he was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma,a bone cancer of the spine which is very aggressive. That diagnosis started us on a horrendous journey.
The day he started his chemo the art therapist came round and asked Varun if he’d like to make something. So as the nurse was getting his chemotherapy ready, which was there to help him fight for his life, there he sat making this object out of shiny paper and stickers.
It was surreal seeing him make such a childlike thing in such an unusual and desperately sad situation. The doctors had told us to prepare for the worse and here was Varun making a paper rocket – yet watching him do something so normal did give me some comfort.
If this item was destroyed, how would you feel? I'd feel a massive sense of loss. Although I think it would probably be redirected post traumatic stress, because it is just an inanimate object. And of course, the thing that really keeps me going, is my living son, who thankfully has recovered. But if I did lose the rocket at this stage of my life whilst still recovering from everything we went through, I think I would feel a great sense of loss.
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