Moms Know Best: Paishence’s mom, Nanette

Amid adversity and uncertainty, St. Jude mom Nanette says to ‘speak life’ to your child

diamond pattern

  •  2 min

Moms Know Best: St. Jude patient Paishence and mom Nanette

Support St. Jude

In the hardest months of cancer treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, Nanette faced losing her only child, Paishence. She and her little girl talked openly about death.

Paishence had planned a song for her funeral by The Band Perry that went: “If I die young, bury me in satin, lay me down on a bed of roses.” The bone cancer, which affected Paishence’s right femur, felt all-consuming. 

Moms Know Best: St. Jude patient Paishence and mom Nanette

Until the day Paishence, then 9 years old, woke up in her hospital bed at St. Jude, turned to Nanette and said, “Mom, I’m going to beat this.”

Of course, the little girl couldn’t have known she’d be OK. No one can tell the future. But in that moment, Nanette understood Paishence was standing her ground, insisting on determining her life instead of leaving everything for cancer to decide.  

Video: Hey Nanette, what's your best parenting advice?

“Instantly, I knew I had to keep my emotions intact,” said Nanette. “And I had to speak life into my child.”

It meant they would dare to dream again. 

“I knew from that moment on, there were no ifs, ands or buts in our vocabulary, so we planned the future,” said Nanette. 

She asked her daughter what she wanted to do more than anything. Paishence told her she wanted to write a children’s book.  

“Let’s do it,” Nanette told her.

Today, Paishence is a junior at Mississippi State University, working toward a marketing degree and, hopefully, a job at St. Jude one day.  

“She wrote her book,” said Nanette. “Needs to be published, but she wrote it.”

Moms Know Best: St. Jude patient Paishence and mom Nanette

Even now, more than 10 years later, remembering that moment in the hospital makes Nanette cry. “To hear that little voice…” 

It was the day a child who seemed to be dying taught her mom how to live again.

“I believe in my soul that you start healing from the mind first,” said Nanette. 

So, dare to dream no matter what, and always "speak life to your child." 

Donate Now

diamond pattern