A letter from the dying girl
To Whom It May Concern:
If you are reading this it is because you have been following along with my journey. It also means that we are friends, that somewhere along my life we have shared a part of each other's lives, a laugh, a story, a connection. Whether we have known each other for decades of have just met at work, in an airplane, or in a hospital, we have a bond. We are in a relationship.
As we all know, relationships are not always easy, and this is one of those times. I will be starting the toughest part thus far of my treatment, my inpatient chemotherapy. I know you are scared, I am too. And I know you don't often know what to say to me, I understand that as well. No one knows better than I what this is all about, the fear, the pain, the sickness, the diagnosis and the prognosis.
Am I dying? Yes. Today? No. I have a terminal illness, there is no cure at this time. Yes, I believe in miracles, but I am not holding out for one. I have, at a young age, entered what I like to refer to as my retirement years. To me, that is a nice way of saying, the last remaining years of my life and I know that I will likely reach my final "retirement" much earlier than ever anticipated. It makes me sad, just like I am sure it does you, but in an odd way, I feel Blessed by this knowledge because I feel I have a deeper understanding of what a relationship means.
A relationship does not mean that you only get the good, a relationship is filled with bumps, long spans of time without communicating and words that hurt and leave scars. It also means being brave and courageous when the other person can't. Stepping out of your comfort zone to say the words that are frightening, to have the conversations that you would rather avoid.
I need you. Our relationship is going to turn into a one-sided affair for a while and I need you to understand that and be willing to be the one who is the giver. I need you to give your time and energy to me, your words and your prayers. I will do my best to be available to you but I can't make any promises at this time for much more than a smile.
Please don't be afraid to "bother" me, I want to be bothered. A phone call, a text, IM or a visit. Doesn't have to be much, just a quick touch to say you are there. Just like the old days, you can talk to me about anything. Trust me, I would rather hear about you, your work, your life, your kids and your puppy's antics than I would hear about my sickness. But, I understand that you likely have questions. It's okay to ask. I would rather you be honest and forthright than side step the obviously. The only elephant in the room will be the one on your leash, you can leave him at the door.
I would rather see your face and the pain and fear in your eyes than to have you feel too unsure and awkward to see me. I am still the same me, the same girl you connected with and formed a relationship with, I am just sick now.
So what do you say to the dying girl? Anything you want.
I love you.