Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fact or fiction: A cancer diagnosis

It’s like waking up to a surprise snowstorm. One day everything’s fine and the next day you’re buried in a foot of white stuff so heavy you can’t move.

You’re not prepared. You thought you had time -- years, not months. But months are what you have.

Suddenly, everything you’ve ever wanted to do becomes more important. Little things mean a lot and big things aren’t so big anymore.

I’ve always marveled at people who can live in the moment. That’s hard for me, especially when life seems to pull me in a million directions at once.

Well, it’s not pulling anymore. The light’s turned red and I’ve skidded to a halt.

I’ve learned I have cancer.

I don’t know how to tell Ella. She’s lost so much already. Her mom, dad. sister. I’m all she has left. Well, me and Maddie. Don’t know where I’d be without Maddie. She’s always been like an aunt to Ella.

Maybe I’ll write Ella notes, a whole year’s worth. One for every day after I’m gone. If I start today, maybe I’ll finish in time. 

Death never waits. 

Fact or fiction? 

This is fiction. Those who know me well know that I've lost a lot of family members and friends to cancer. In my book, Ella's Rain,  a young girl learns to live again when her grandma, who dies, leaves her 365 notes, one for every day of the coming year. 

Here's the opening of Ella's Rain:
  Ella stared at the alabaster urn the funeral director had given her. It was hard to believe that Grandma had become nothing more than a pile of white ashes. She longed to feel her grandma’s thick arms around her and to smell her sweet perfume that hung in the air like an August fog. How does a cream-puff-of-a-lady become a bag of dust, she wondered. 
     Cancer. That evil C word. The word she had lived with for almost a year. The evil thing that had devoured Grandma like a vulture devours a dead carcass, gorging itself until its crop bulges and leaving nothing but splintered bones behind. 
     It was so unfair, Ella thought. Grandma Dorothy was all she had. And now her beloved Dorothy was gone, off to an Emerald City from which she would never return. And Ella was left with nothing but the damn alabaster urn Grandma had picked out before she died. Picked out like everything else.
    The hymns that would be sung.
    The biblical passages that would be read.
    Even the flowers that would sit beside the urn on the pedestal table.
    Picked out everything like it was some damn picnic…
Other fact or fiction posts: 

1 comment:

  1. Okay, you scared me there for a moment. =) My mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer twelve years ago. Most of that first year she spent in the hospital. She's doing well and I'm so glad she's still with us.