There are very few things in life that are as challenging as the serious illness of a parent. Experiencing this type of profound hardship at a young age is another level of heartache altogether, something that Canadian country singer Jessica Mitchell knows all too well.
“My mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when I was a teenager, around the age of 17 or 18,” Mitchell says. Luckily, the doctors caught her mother’s cancer early. After surgery and chemotherapy, her mother was able to go into remission for a few years. Then, her cancer came back; this time worse than before.
“It came back with a vengeance,” Mitchell recalls. “It was a hell of a disease and at that point, it had spread too far..”
Mitchell’s mother passed away in October 2012, a decade into her battle with ovarian cancer.
Turning Grief Into Strength
As anyone who has lost a loved one knows, grief comes in waves that never really go away. For Mitchell, singing and songwriting help her anchor this sorrow.
“Losing a parent or anyone to cancer is never an easy thing, but as artists and as writers, we have to sort of channel that and use that in the best way that we can,” she says.
Known for her vulnerable songwriting, (some country radio stations refused to play her song, Grown Up Things, deeming the lyrics “too dark” ) Mitchell’s lyrics powerfully and beautifully portray what it’s really like to go through a tragic loss.
“I like writing about painful things,” says Mitchell. “That’s really what I’m heavily focused on – writing music that not only helps me but helps others, too.”
“There’s beauty in pain,” explains Mitchell. “There’s beauty in the ugliness of the world and I think you very much have to look through that to see the goodness that’s really going on.”
In the honour of her mother’s memory and the thousands of brave women who are fighting against ovarian cancer, Mitchell will be performing at the Lady Ball in Toronto, an evening of fun and fashion in support of the most fatal women’s cancer. Tickets for the Thursday, March 2 event can be purchased at www.theladyball.ca