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Through It All

By , Montclair, NJ
Willow








November 26

How happy the day was,
the smiles on our faces,
as if we were always like this.

My sister and I
felt like we could rule the world.
We ran around without a care.

How happy the day was
the laughing,
the party.
And for the first time in a while,
I really smiled.


Ramona







November 26

The pain gets worse and worse every day, almost to the point where I can’t stand it. I keep thinking that I should tell someone, but somehow I feel like I can’t. I don’t want to worry them, on my birthday and all. Besides, I’m afraid. Afraid that the pain will turn out to be something horrible, something that I could never accept to be true. It’s been present for a while now, and I have yet to tell someone. My sister doesn’t even know. Willow, who is my best friend in the world, the best twin sister anyone could ask for, and I’m keeping her in the dark. I don’t think that I can keep this much longer; the missing painkillers won’t go unnoticed for long. They’ll find out soon enough. But I should probably tell them myself; otherwise they’ll kill themselves with worry over the secret I’m keeping from them.








Willow








December 4

How can everything be normal one moment,
and the next, so different?
Is it a trick of nature?
A cruel joke?

My twin,
my confident,
my everything,
inflicted with such pain.
Why?

Nothing will ever be the same now.
We’ve been thrown into this
and there’s no way out,
but I still can’t help wondering,
why us?


Ramona









December 4

Leukemia. That’s what the doctors said. No, not dehydration, not heat exhaustion, but Leukemia. I guess that it’s better now, with the fact of my illness out in the open. I don’t feel like I’m hiding anything anymore. But I’m scared now; not for me, but for my family. The trauma of the situation is still setting in, and it seems to scare them more than me. I mean, I know that I’m going to die, but I’m not afraid of death. I’m more scared of how my death will affect the people that I love. I don’t want to hurt anyone, especially my sister. I just want to go peacefully, knowing that everything I’m leaving behind is in order. My treatment starts tomorrow. Let’s hope that I’m strong enough to survive it.






Willow








December 7

Only two years left,
like a time bomb ticking away.
Such a short time
to really live life.

Only so much time left
for us to spend together.
Yet half the time we long to be alone,
she’ll be in the hospital,
trying to maintain what little life is left in her.

Only two years left
until I’m left alone.
I only wish
that her time bomb would tick for me instead.


Ramona









December 7

Two years. That’s how long I have left to live. Three at the most. I’ll be seventeen, still merely a teenager. So young, so forgotten. I told them that I’m a fighter, that I can tough it out, survive the cancer that slowly trickles through my veins. They just shook their heads, as if they’ve heard that too many times to believe that it could be true. I feel horrible, like I’ve already died inside. Too soon, all too soon. My parents are trying to handle it well, trying to hide their fear, but I see it in their eyes, trying to take cover from a situation beyond their understanding. My sister Willow walks around the house with me, afraid of being left alone. They all smile at me and tell me that it’s not my fault, but I still feel the need to say: I’m sorry.







Willow








December 25

Jingle bells ring in my ears
and shop windows come to life,
yet this Christmas isn’t so merry;
the Leukemia’s taken care of that.

Remembering presents under the tree
and a happier life,
just brings pain and sorrow,
because we know it cannot be.

If there really was a Santa Claus,
I’d ask for no more presents.
I’d wish that everyone could be happy,
and that my sister could be well again.


Ramona







December 25

The blank white walls of the hospital room, pitifully decorated with a plastic poster of Santa Claus, taped to the wall. This was what I saw before I fell asleep on Christmas Eve, in the uncomfortable hospital bed, covered in the uncomfortable hospital blankets, in my uncomfortable hospital room. IV tubes ran up and down my arms, and I had a splitting headache that the painkillers just couldn’t numb. When I woke up on Christmas morning, in that uncomfortable hospital, I saw my family gathered around my bed. They handed me a little blue box with a pretty pink bow. Inside was my grandmother’s locket, a family treasure. I started to cry as I put it on, thinking about how much I loved my family. And then the doctors came in and chased them away, for I needed sleep. I shed silent tears as they bid me farewell and walked off into the world white with snow, so near, yet so far beyond my reach.





Willow








January 3

Tension grows.
As my sister grows weaker,
my parents grow farther apart.

They used to hold hands,
kiss each other goodnight.
But now they just claw at each other,
as if that’s how they’ve always acted.

I want to run,
to scream,
to die.
But I cant,
for that would kill my sister too.


Ramona








January 3

The hospital is now my home. No warmth, no comfort, no compassion, the building radiates a feeling of hopelessness and sorrow, casting a dark shadow on all of its inhabitants. It’s cold and miserable; no happy smiling faces like there were at home. My family visits me every day; sometimes everyone, sometimes just Willow, on her way home from school. My friends send me cards. ‘We miss you,’ they say. ‘Get well soon.’ If only they knew how I try, how I wake up ever morning and hope that the cancer has somehow miraculously left my blood. But then I look around at my uncomfortable hospital room and realize that it’s hopeless. I still dream though. I dream about what I would do if I were healthy again. But sometimes, when the merciless pain returns, I just sit still and dream of an end.






Willow








February 8

Ramona knows;
she saw our family’s state,
and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone
cry so much.

I try to give our parents strength,
but their love is dying faster than my sister.
If only they could see
what their fights are doing to her.

I wish that I could fix everything.
But I can’t.
There’s nothing I can do.


Ramona








February 8

Mom and Dad, Dad and Mom; that’s the way it’s always been. They were together. Parents. One and the same. But then suddenly…maybe not. Willow says that they’re fighting. She didn’t tell me why, but I know that it’s because of me. The stress of the Leukemia is breaking them, crushing them under its weight. They’ve always been happy, never wanting to be away from each other. And now there’s talk of a divorce. I could never be able to handle that, never be able to live knowing that it was my fault. But then again, maybe I’ll be gone by the time that they’re separated. Willow came by again today. She gave me a picture of our family, before the Leukemia. I keep it on my bedside table to remember a time when we were happy, and together.








Willow








February 21

Before she grew sick,
before our parents grew apart,
Ramona was who I wanted to be.

Respected,
kind,
better,
we shared a friendship great enough to move mountains.

And yet she was the one who got sick,
not me.
I got to live,
got to breathe,
and I’ll bet she hates me for that.


Ramona







February 21

As each day goes by, I can feel that I’m nearing the end. The nurses are constantly bustling in and out of my room, and they often turn away my parents when they come to visit. But when they do visit, they stay for a while. We look at my baby pictures and laugh about good times. We never speak of the future. It’s clear that they’re trying to hide the fact that they’re fighting. When Willow comes to visit, we never speak. We just stare at each other, afraid to lose our twin sister. She has been through so much, maybe more than me, trying to cope with my Leukemia. I can see it in her eyes, and I feel terrible. She must hate me for being so selfish. But the truth is, I truly admire her. She is kind, sweet, and strong in this time of hardship. I’ve never even seen a weeping Willow.







Willow









March 6

They broke the news,
Mom and Dad,
and now they’re official.

Separated.
What a permanent word.
Unlike my sister’s terrible fate,
can’t my parents’ change?

Now Dad’s out of the house
and Mom’s sad and quiet.
I don’t think that they understand
that along with Ramona,
this family’s dying too.


Ramona








March 6

My family came by today. They sat on the edge of my bed and spoke to me softly about the divorce. It will be legal tomorrow. I cried, and Willow cried, and then they left, shooed away by the doctors. I knew then that the end was almost upon me. I felt sicker than ever, weakened by my parents’ lost love for each other. My parents are divorced. The words seem so harmless, so innocent, and yet they were the only words needed to break me.












Willow








March 11

The colors drained from her face,
her voice is too quiet.
I can feel my twin slipping away,
but I won’t believe it.

I know that soon we’ll say our final goodbyes,
and for one last time,
I’ll have a sister.
I know that time’s coming soon.

I can’t say goodbye to Ramona.
She’s my sister,
my twin.
But her time bomb’s ticking,
and it’s almost up.


Ramona








March 11

I once said that I was a fighter. That nothing would break me. That I would tough out my Leukemia to the end. But as I breathe, I fear that each breath might be my last. As I close my eyes, I fear that they may never open again. I stand by what I said before, that I’m not afraid to die. I’ll be in less pain when I’m gone. But my family will live on, and experience probably more pain than I am now. I wrote a letter to Willow today, to say goodbye, to tell her that I love her, and admire her. I don’t think that I could bear to say goodbye to her in person. My parents are divorced, but maybe the trauma of my death can bring them together again. I once said that I was a fighter, but now I can only lie here, crippled by my Leukemia, and wait for death to find me.






Willow








March 13

I’m ready,
ready to end it all
and finally be happy.

She’s gone,
after only four months,
and now it’s time for me to join her.

When the doctors told us,
they handed me a letter,
and now I know how much she loved me.
How did I miss it before?

I don’t want to be without her,
for she’s part of me,
and without her I couldn’t survive.

I’m ready to say goodbye.





Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

goudagirl said...
Dec. 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm
This is an amazing, incredibly touching story of friendship, sisterhood, sorrow, and struggle. Beautifully written!
 
rak27 replied...
Dec. 14, 2010 at 8:32 pm
This was so much fun to write!  It's amazing how sad and depressing a person could write at the beach! :)
 
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