A terminal cancer sufferer has inspired thousands of people on Twitter after documenting how she told her son about her devastating prognosis.
On Tuesday, she posted a heartbreaking photo of herself with her six-year-old boy, writing: “Today is the day I tell [him] that I’m dying of cancer.”
She continued: “It’s reached a point where he has to hear it from me. Let all my tears flow now so that I can be brave this afternoon. Let me howl with grief now so that I can comfort him.”
Her message garnered more than half a million likes and 44,800 retweets, as users praised the loving mum for her bravery and strength:
Describing the circumstances around the revalation, Dr Chaudhri told Good Morning Americathat she and her son had made the decision to tell their son what was going on because “all the treatments [were failing me].”
“He already knew that I had cancer. He knew that I was still taking chemotherapy medication and trying to get better, but I don’t think he had a sense of how bad it is,” she explained.
Dr Chaudhri said she planned to tell her son on Tuesday morning but instead woke up crying and feeling “completely devastated.”
Seeking an “outlet” for her grief, Chaudhri turned to Twitter, where she has been keeping in touch with friends, colleagues and students.
But she had no idea her message would be met with such an overwhelming outpouring of love and support.
“It really seemed to strike a nerve,” the neuroscientist said.
“A lot of people have written to me unsolicited and told me how important it was that their parents had that conversation and they assured me how they turned out fine, or they told me about situations where they didn’t have the conversation and how dreadful that was.”
Chaudhri’s story has lead to people sharing their own similar experiences and many praised her for being so open with her son.
When the time came on Tuesday afternoon, the conversation was short but meaningful, Dr Chaudhri said.
She later gave her followers an update of how the heartbreaking conversation with her son went.
Along with an image of the two of them hugging, she tweeted: “Our hearts broke. We cried a lot. And then the healing began.
“My son is brave. He is bright. He will be okay. And I will watch him grow from wherever I am. Today was the hardest day of my life. Thank you for all for your love.”
“One of the things my son said was, ‘I wish I didn’t know. I wish you hadn’t told me,’” she recalled to Good Morning America.
“We said, ‘We have to tell you because you’re part of the family and we didn’t want you to have a bad surprise. We wanted to give you the chance to ask your questions and talk about it and feel things with us, as a family.’
“I’m so glad we did it because he needed to hear it and he understood right away what was said,” she added. “It just worked out well even though it was the hardest conversation I’ve ever had.”
Dr Chaudhri decided to put the attention she had received to good use: raising money for young scientists to continue the work she was doing on alcohol addiction.
Her efforts have so far raised more than $185,000.
You can donate to the fundraiser here.