Hear the Angel

Dear diary,


Rose takes the name of a flower. A red, sweet smelling flower, that is most commonly seen in flower vases sold at your local flower shop. Rose’s mom, Heather had a little more romantic feel to the name Rose; at least that is what Rose’s dad said anyways. Heather was different than anyone Rose‘s father, Declan, had ever meet. He never thought that at first sight, wearing her mini skirt and black tank reading bad, would be a deep, loving teenager. Heather choose the name Rose for her first daughter not because it was a name of a flower. Heather had given Rose her name because a rose is the number one sign of love; at least to Heather anyways. At the time love was all Heather could give Rose and by choosing her name wisely she was able to, in her own way, show how much she really loves her daughter.

This is not my story, but I feel this is my story to tell. Things happen in life. Things you can not control. That is life. When the news struck I didn’t know what to do. So, I went out and bought this diary. In a way the diary is not for me to write my future in; it is for me to write my past, with all of my feelings attached. If I am going to tell you the story then I should start from the beginning; the very beginning. A lot has happened over the years and my memory is surely not as good as it was years ago, so some of the details might be lacking perfection, but I will try. So, here it goes; the beginning of the story.

Heather had been different all of her life in one way or another. Other girls at her school seemed to have a balance in between the two sides of Heather. She tried most of her life to find that balance, but realized a little too late that her life wasn’t suppose to have that balance. She was born to stand out and to be different, she just didn’t see it. All through elementary school and part of junior high school she tried to be herself. As the years went by she soon realized more and more that being herself wasn’t what her class mates wanted. Heather had felt like a loner most of her school life and didn’t want to stick with being herself; the loner. She wanted people to like her and she was willing to change herself to do it. When Heather started eighth grade it was like Heather had changed into a whole other person, and not for the better. Instead of being the lover of life, the girl who couldn’t stop smiling if you made her, even the girl who was in love with nature, she turned into the girl who took two hours getting ready in the morning, and ended up walking out of the house wearing mini skirts and tank tops. Instead of continuing her perfect attendance record at school, Heather started skipping at least one class ever week. Instead of getting confirmed into the Junior National Honor Society, Heather’s straight A’s turned into straight D’s. Heather’s mom and dad’s perfect little girl turned into the school bad girl in a matter of weeks.

The new friends that Heather made weren’t the best of people either. It was like Heather was prone to finding friends that would only get her into more trouble. They weren’t friends they were more like gangs, but Heather refused to call them that. That is how Heather meet Declan, in detention. Heather was in there for skipping class and Declan was in there for vandalism. Heather and Declan had known each other since they were five, but never took a liking to each other until that day in detention in the eighth grade. Declan had thought that Heather was pretty, but terribly not his type. He was the bad boy and he wanted a bad girl.

Declan’s story was a little different. He had known who he was since the day he was born. He wasn’t bad like bad, bad, but he was raised a certain way and in a way, being bad was all he knew. He had tried to fit in with the normal group of kids when he was younger, but just couldn’t. He knew he wouldn’t fit in and he wasn’t going to try to. Once he started being himself he understood where he was meant to fit in. Declan’s mother was never what you would call a good role model. She had him when she was eighteen and no where prepared to care for a child. Declan’s father never stayed. The minute he found out Declan’s mother, Lisa was pregnant he broke up with her and started dating some other girl. Two months after they started dating he got her pregnant too. He left Lisa to take care of Declan all by herself. Lisa wasn’t ever the brightest crayon in the box when it came to school. She ended up graduating, but never moved on to college. In Declan’s mind Lisa was the person to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, worked at a strip bar, stayed out all hours of the night with her new boyfriend, and came home in the next morning terribly drunk and then sleep all day. Declan didn’t see her as anything else other than a waste of air. You might be thinking that is horrible, that a son would think so less of his mother, but really she deserved a lot less than what Declan gave her. Declan grew up learning from her. Not presently, but had nothing else to learn from. By the time Declan turned fifteen he had already been arrested twice. Nothing serious, only trespassing and getting into a fight once, but still both times the cops brought him home. Before Declan even got into high school he had been suspended three times and had a daily seat in the detention room. Oh, and Heather knew this too. It was no surprise when she showed up for detention and Declan was there. Declan had his own record right besides his mothers and even longer one to himself. For some reason he liked keeping tabs on himself in his head about everything that he probably shouldn’t have done, but did. You know, the stuff that you either don’t get caught for or isn’t police station important. All the times he and his buddies hung out on the old railroad tracks on the outskirts of town drinking and smoking. All the times something accidentally slipped into his pocket without a price tag and he didn’t get caught. Don’t forget all of the times him and his buddies spray painted some vile, not school appropriate saying on a school wall. All things that weren’t recorded in his file at the police station, but were definitely recorded in his file in his head. It was all a big game for Declan. He didn’t do things thinking about exactly what he was doing and feeling ok about it. No, he just did things without thinking. In a way he knew better, but then again maybe he didn’t. Honestly I am still unsure about that. You may be thinking that I know everything there is to know about Declan Buchanan, but the truth is I don’t and maybe never will.

At first Declan falling in love with Heather was more than a love story. At first Declan falling in love with Heather was mostly for publicity. Heather thought that if people saw her with Declan, they would know she was for real bad, and they did. Heather made new friends and they made her feel like she was one of them. The fighting, stealing, drinking, smoking, and violating meant nothing to Heather. What she really only wanted was to feel like she belonged. It is something everyone wants to feel, but some people are more willing to do more than other people to get it. After a while Heather began to fall. Fall wasn’t exactly the most appropriate word. It was more like driving off a bridge head first without thinking and without looking where she was going. To Heather Declan was different. Yeah, he had a thick crust, but once you got passed the curst he was the most sweetest person she had ever meet. Declan cared about Heather more than she could ever dream of coming from a guy who had a permanent seat in detention. Heather fell in love with Declan and Declan fell in love with Heather.

This is the part of the story where Rose comes into the picture. They were sophomores in high school. Declan was seventeen; he had failed fifth grade, and Heather was sixteen. One time was all it took. Heather knew right away that losing her virginity at such a young age was a mistake. One that she could never take back. It was just after Christmas when Heather took the pregnancy test that came up positive. It was no surprise to Heather. She had a feeling that she was pregnant by the time she slipped her clothes on to leave his house that night. She just had that feeling. Something she could never explain. Telling Declan’s mother was the easy part. Telling Heather’s parents was the hard part. Declan’s mother wasn’t surprised at all. She first did this weird fortune teller thing and told Heather that she knew that she would get pregnant, it was just a matter of time. Second she congratulated both Declan and Heather as if it was a good thing Heather was pregnant. After that she left the room before Declan could get another word in. Heather’s parents were absolutely one hundred percent a different story. Heather’s mother got pregnant with her first child when she was twenty-eight and had been married for almost three years, whereas with Declan’s mother, her story was just like Declan’s. She got pregnant at only age seventeen. In the end it took almost a month before Heather got up enough nerve to tell them. To be honest I think it was more because of all the changes that Heather was having difficulties hiding more and more everyday that really made her go and finally tell than her wanting her parents to know. Their first reaction wasn’t too pleasant either. Heather’s mom first screamed and then fainted; literally fainted. Then once she woke up screamed again. Once her mom stopped freaking out both Heather’s mom and dad gave her a big long lecture about how big of a mistake she had just made and how it was going to ruin her life. Actually it wasn’t really much of a lecture more as it was both her parents yelling at her. Of course Heather wasn’t going to sit there and not fight back. If you thought so, you haven’t been paying very good attention. So, Heather argued with her too perfect, rich parents and then left. On her way out the door her parents told her that if she took one step out the doors she wasn’t allowed back in the house ever! It took only a second to make her decision. Once she was outside and free she felt happy. It was like she was finally winning the game and her parents were losing. Seeing as though Heather had nowhere to stay she ended up staying at Declan’s house. Of course Lisa didn’t mind because when did she ever mind anything?

Ten months later a little baby girl was born on April 14, 1977 at 5:58 at night. After Declan found out Heather was pregnant he had changed. By the time Rose was born Declan was a proud father that was willing to do everything he can to support his little girl. Heather knew that her parents would be right by her side when Rose came. All of the yelling, fighting, and kicking Heather out of the house was all just tough love. When Rose came Heather was right about her parents. They were right by her side. For a while things were ok and Heather actually started to think that things could work out. That is if everyone would try. Heather’s parents did not like Declan and I wonder why? He has a record and got their little girl pregnant! Any parent would definitely no be too fond of a guy like that, but Heather’s parents tried to make things work. At least that is how it seemed. For the first couple of months Heather’s parents helped out a lot. They paid for Rose to go to nursery school while Heather and Declan were at school and they even helped out with some of the bills until both Heather and Declan found after school jobs. Of course that was not nearly enough, but they made due. On the other side, Lisa was a different story like always. Declan asked Lisa to watch Rose once and once was all it took to realize he could not trust his own mother with his child. Things were hard, but no nearly as hard as they could have been if it weren’t for Heather’s parents.

Heather lasted a year with Declan and Rose before her parents got to her. Declan knew it would happen and so did Heather. Declan knew that Heather loved the two of them very much, but Heather’s parents offer was more valuable than Declan’s. They had more to offer Heather than Declan could ever have. One night Heather’s parents asked her to dinner. Heather had asked them if Declan and Rose could come, but her parents said no. She knew that they were going to try to talk her into something and that it wouldn’t work with the two of them around. For the next week after the dinner with Heather’s parents she hadn’t been herself at all. She was thinking a lot and taking walks. Plus she was visiting her parents regularly. Before she didn’t want to speak to them let alone start communicating with them everyday. Declan knew that they had gotten to her and in reality there was nothing left for him to do, but beg and he did. One night after Heather got back from her nightly walk she told Declan she needed to talk. He knew it was coming. He knew she was going to leave him. The talk only lasted twenty minutes before she got up to pack her things. Heather told Declan that her parents had made a better offer to her than he ever could make. He knew that he could not give her much, but he could give her love. Sadly that is not what was most important to her back then. Her parents offered to have fifteen thousand dollars left to Declan and Rose. Then they can all move far away and forget about everything that happened and start over new. In the end Heather made the hardest decision of her life by choosing to go with her parents, but everyone knew that it was the best decision for her. Yes, she would be leaving behind her little baby girl and her love of her life, but she would be gaining a lot more; a new beginning. Loving Declan was like looking through a fish tank. It was see through. Everything was as clear as day and she loved that. When Heather was with Declan she didn’t have to pretend to be that bad girl everyone wanted her to be. She could be the loving girl she had always been. She left all of that along with her baby girl. To her regretting that day she left was like regretting ever changing in the first place. Higher than the crime rate in New York.

Rose has had her struggles in life just like any other teenager in this mixed up, crazy world. Many people have said that she has had more struggles than her fellow peers, but Rose wouldn’t. Some may say that Rose has lived a rather hectic, troublesome, just plain bad life. Of course it isn’t their life to speak about, though. Yes, Rose will agree that she has had her hand of hardships and struggles in her life, but she doesn’t complain; nor will she ever. That is the way Rose was raised. She was raised to think about all of the good things in her life and leave all of the bad things under her bed at night.

Growing up with only a father was never a big deal for Rose. Yes, she missed her mother and wondered about her, but she decided years ago that she wasn’t going to let someone who chose to leave both her and her father bring her down by wonders of what might be. Rose had to wipe away her tears and put on a big girl face instead of living in fantasies. The real world was knocking at her door and she had no choice, but to answer it. The thing that still seizes to amaze me is that Declan really did change. When Heather left he realized what he had to do as a father. The day Rose came into the world Declan promised to protect her and support her as much as he possibly could. Declan was determined to keep that promise. In Declan’s mind he thinks Rose is what really saved him from himself. His high school life before she came along got to the point where he got named most likely to go to jail before he graduated from high school. In reality most of his class mates were sure he would go to jail before he graduated from high school because they thought the day Declan graduated from high school was the day pigs fly. Once he was on his own he learned that staying in school was not a possibility. His after school job was not even close to cutting it. Declan knew that he had to quit school and get a real job; one that would pay all of their bills. That is exactly what Declan did. He dropped out of school his Junior year and started looking for a better job. The only problem with dropping out of high school is that the jobs left for high school drop outs are limited. No one wanted to hire a high school drop out with a police record. In the end he found a job at a local grocery store, but even that was cutting it.

Two years after he dropped out of school Declan learned that he needed a high school diploma to get any job good enough to support a family, so after some begging and pleading he returned back to high school and ended up graduating two years after. Thankfully, Rose didn’t come a minute too late and he ended up not going to jail before he graduated high school!

The thing about being a bad boy is that you get accustomed to that life and all of the temptations that comes with it. Temptations are everywhere, but you have to be the bigger person and look past them. No one is perfect, including Declan. When times got tough he gave in. He would go back to his ways just like he were in high school again. Just like Rose never even existed. Declan started drinking again. The only difference this time is that he was actually old enough to drink, but in a lot of ways he wasn’t responsible enough to know when to stop. When his old drug addict friends came around he thought what the heck, what is one little sale going to hurt? Well in the end it ended up hurting a lot of things. Thankfully Declan was able to pull himself together before he got himself into some real trouble, but not until Declan and Rose were close to getting evicted from our apartment, until he lost his job, and almost was arrested.

Now lets spring forward a little to present day; 1977 to be exact. Rose is fifteen years old and in the ninth grade. Rose’s life style and what it consists is a little different than most of her class mates, but that is Rose’s life and in many ways she wouldn’t give it up for anything. Yes, the temptations are still around and yes, sometimes her father does give in. Declan is trying his best though and is doing everything he can to make things better. He has been drug free for two months now and hasn’t come home drunk in over a week, but all of that is hardly any time at all. To Declan it seems like forever, but to people that have to give him his pay check it seems like a nothing. That is where he runs into some problems. Over the last year Declan has went through around twenty jobs and they weren’t easy to find either! Both Rose and himself spent hours and hours hunched over newspapers and magazines in search of a job for Declan. Weeks would go by; sometimes even months. No one wants to hire a high school drop out that got lucky and went back to high school and got his diploma. No one wants to hire a drug addict that has a drinking problem. Declan has a record of all his mistakes he has ever made in life. Having to look back on all of them every time he goes looking for a job can’t be easy.

Seeing as though Declan can’t keep a job if his life depended on it; which it really does, Rose has had to work after school ever since she was ten. Ever since Rose was ten she has been working at her neighbors flower shop down town. Rose’s neighbor Olivia is not only her neighbor, but her best friend. Declan started renting their apartment when Rose was six. That is all Declan could afford at the time. Things haven’t changed so much since they still can’t afford anything else. Anyways, ever since Declan and Rose moved in Olivia and Rose have been really close. Maybe it was the self pity she took on Rose when her father was out getting drunk at some bar and left her at home. Maybe Olivia had a eight sense and she could just tell Rose was a lover of the world just like herself. Whatever the reason Rose and Olivia took a liking to each other quickly and soon became best friends; even if Olivia is seventeen years older than Rose. Let’s just say that the kids that Rose has to deal with on a daily basis at school don’t get her. That would be putting it lightly. In reality it was like Rose was the punching gloves in a boxing match. She has only gotten physically assaulted twice and once was an accident; they say at least. Other than that only mental blows hit Rose. While they are out trying to make their hair look even bigger than it already is, Rose is in the flower shop with Olivia trying to help make a living. Rose doesn’t fit in for many reasons, but the biggest has to be because of Declan. He isn’t the most suitable father. I think I have already made my points on that, but he loves Rose. The only problem is no one else sees that love. All that they see is what a horrible father he has been. Brooklyn may seem like a big city to you and it is, but word spreads around like wild fire nowadays. It is like people have found a new hobby called gossiping. It is not a good hobby to keep. Since word gets around everyone that Rose has to interact with knows all about her father. Everyone who went to church, really any church, thought that getting a girl pregnant before you were married was a sin. Even if you weren’t all buddy, buddy with God you still would have to deal with your parents wrath, and no one wanted that! Declan’s story is the kind of story people who use to go to school with him would tell their teenager whenever they had their first relationship. Not in a good way. Everyone in town knew all of Declan’s flaws and of course no one could look past Rose being his daughter. So, Rose is the school freak with a father who needs to take some parenting classes. That is how everyone at my school sees Rose. Olivia connects with Rose because she knows what it is like to not fit in. She understands Rose and everything she is going through; at least at school anyways. When it comes to all of the stuff with Declan and paying the bills she listens and tries to understand, but there is only so much people can truly understand without actually living it. Olivia is really a mixture of a best friend and a mother to Rose. In a way isn’t that what parents are suppose to feel like, depending on the child of course. Aren’t parents suppose to be like best friends to their child. If your child is good and you can trust them, then you can be a nice parent and be more on the friend side, but if you have a bad child, one that you don’t trust, then you will have to be more like a parent than a mom. Olivia can’t punish Rose for doing something wrong, but then again if she could there would be few times where she would have to. Rose has always been an angel and always will be. Rose understands she will never have a real mom and she might not even have a fake one either since Declan hasn’t exactly been looking for a relationship, but Olivia is as close as it is going to get when it comes to having a mom.

It is very obvious that Rose is Heather’s daughter. It is not because they look a like, which they do. It is not because they both have names of flowers. No, it is their love that makes an uncanny resemblance. They both love flowers and nature. Picking names of flowers to be their children’s names has been a tradition in Heather’s family for a long time. Just seeing a bright yellow dandelion would always make Heather smile. Most people think that dandelion’s are weeds that should be killed, but to Heather they were always a flower. Something that never deserved to die. Heather always thought that it was kind of like life. She started especially thinking about it when she left Declan and Rose. Heather loved Rose, but neither Declan nor Heather could wipe away the feeling that Rose was a mistake. Rose wasn’t the mistake and Declan made a point to make sure Rose knew that. The mistake was the age and the timing. Five or ten years into the future would have been perfect. When Declan and Heather were married and both had stable jobs and a house. Not when they were in high school and had a very dim future ahead of them.

Heather was not a frequent church person, but until she turned twelve her parents made her go every Sunday. On those Sundays Heather didn’t learn much. She was a child and didn’t have the attention span to understand or at least try to understand. When Heather made her decision to either take her parents offer or stay, it seemed like all of those lectures and sermons at church came back to her. They must have slipped in unconsciously, but they all came back. Heather knew that God works in mysterious ways, but she never thought that God would physically make something bad happen to someone for the better. Isn’t that what happens though? In life the phrase “That’s life” is used on a daily basis. It is obviously a negative saying. If God wants us to be happy then why do bad things happen? The answer Heather came up with was that, God has a plan for all of us. He has a big book and is up in heaven writing our future right now. Whatever is meant to happen will happen. Life is just a big learning experience that you have to learn on the way. When Rose came into Heather and Declan’s life, Heather would have never thought that God had a purpose for doing so other than what is nature. Making her decision, Heather thought about what God’s plan really was for her. What really made her leave was the fact that right then, Heather didn’t have a plan or a bright future. She would have a decision when it came time to decide. She felt like leaving was the only choice left for her.

When Rose was little she use to walk home from school. It was a good twenty block or so from the school to her house, so Olivia invited her to stop by her shop whenever Rose passed it and they could talk and I could get a glass of water. You know just rest a while before she started for home. Declan usually wouldn’t be home by the time she got home anyways, so Rose started walking there everyday after school. That is when Rose really found her love for flowers. Being in Olivia’s shop just made Rose feel peaceful and free. The whole meditating surroundings calmed Rose down after a long day at school. If Rose had to pick her favorite place in the world, anywhere, she would still have picked the flower shop because it felt like home to her. When Rose turned ten and Olivia realized Declan and Rose needed money bad, she agreed to let Rose work part time at the shop. You know doing little things that a ten year old can handle. As Rose got older she started doing more and more. Every year Rose grew the experience of working at a flower shop grew more and more exciting. Now she gets to handle the flowers and sometimes Olivia even lets her arrange them; that is if the order was a small one. She would always have to let Olivia look it over and make sure it was perfect before she gave it to the customer, though.

I have always had struggles staying positive. That has to be the number one thing I have always hated about myself. I am usually extremely vibrant, but other times I can be a total drama queen. Rose on the other hand has to be the strongest, most positive person I have ever met. She believes that her future is in her hands. So, everyday she would wake up making sure she is on the right side of the bed. With a smile on her face, doing everything possible to have the best day she could. Olivia has always been extremely religious. Like Rose, she has had her struggles in life too. In school she got picked on because she “wasn’t right”. She surely wasn’t like most kids. All of her school career she knew that she didn’t like guys she liked girls. She is a lesbian. At first Olivia didn’t know what was going on. She didn’t know why she wasn’t feeling the same way all of her friends felt. When rumors started spreading around school that she was a lesbian, Olivia started cutting herself. She was depressed and didn’t know what to do. That was until Nikki came around. Nikki was new at school and right from the spot everyone knew something was up with her. She didn’t fit in and in the end Olivia and Nikki just kind of matched. Nikki was also a lesbian and knew what Olivia was going through. Nikki helped Olivia survive high school by realizing that she wasn’t the one that needed to be changed, the people who make fun of her needed to change.

After high school adjusting to the real world with one, special quality, was a struggle, also. Olivia soon adjusted to her new life as a florist and society started to realize how big of a deal being a lesbian really is. It is not a big deal at all, but if you try to make it one that is when there becomes problems. Christ has always been a big part in Olivia’s life, but ever since her high school years He has been an even bigger part. Olivia always tells Rose that things will change; things will get better. That God won’t let you suffer. He wants people to be happy right and if people do suffer a point in their lives it is because it is one of God’s plans. That was the one thing Rose was thinking about when she and Declan were seated in the waiting room at Wright State Hospital waiting for the news of a life time.

Still, when I look back on everything Declan has told me, I still get shivers down my spin. In the end Olivia was wrong about God not letting Rose suffer. This might all have been in his big book under Rose’s name, but then again this would be cruel, even for God.

On May 7, 1977 the fevers started. Rose hadn’t been feeling well lately, but felt it was nothing. Declan had just found a new, more stable job and anything to make him worry anymore than he already did was the last thing on Rose’s to-do list. The symptoms she had been having were little and inconsequential. She thought it was nothing. May 7, Rose got her first fever. She ended up making it through the day at school, but when she got to the flower shop she started feeling worse and said something to Olivia about it. Once Olivia felt Rose’s head she instantly felt a fever. Olivia pulled out some over the counter medicine and gave it to Rose. Olivia then asked Rose if she was feeling ok and that was Rose’s first lie about not feeling well, but it wouldn’t be her last. Rose told Olivia that she was fine. That it was probably just a cold or something. Olivia believed her and within an hour Rose’s fever was gone, just like it never happened. Although it did happen and two days later the same fever returned. Rose was afraid to tell anyone, so she suffered through the week. She thought that some sleep and rest would do the trick. When the weekend came to an end and she still wasn’t feeling any better she became worried. Rose absolutely didn’t need anything else to make her worry or her father. The fever lasted throughout the weekend and most days Rose would take some medicine and it would go away. By Monday the fever that keep her down throughout the weekend was still standing strong. Rose didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know what was wrong with her. All she could do was ask God to just make it go away. With the rent almost due and her father already struggling at his new job she didn’t need anything else. By Wednesday Rose was fed up feeling as she was. She had thought that maybe if she could just scrounge up enough money to go see a doctor without her father, then she would know what was going on with her body and could fix it. Not having anyone to turn to in this situation, she turned to Olivia. She knew she could comfy in her, but then again she is a grown up and for some reason grown ups feel as though they have to go telling parents every little thing a child does. Rose sat down and talked to Olivia about how she had been feeling. Olivia immediately told Rose that she needs to go see a doctor. Whether it is just a common cold or if it was something worse like a brain tumor, Rose needed to go and have it checked out. At the word brain tumor Rose reacted. She had never thought it would be something so serious or serious at all. I mean people get sick all the time, right? Flu, cold, phenomena, all things common people get at least once a year and Rose hadn’t been sick much that year, so she thought that maybe it was her turn to get her yearly sickness just like everyone else. Rose didn’t want to get her dad involved in this, but needed a parent to sign the legal papers at the doctors office. Seeing as though money has always been tight, Rose and Declan don’t always make yearly visits to the doctors office. Declan feels there is no need to. I mean if someone were to be dying, of course they would go to the hospital, but cases like that were serious, unlike the common cold that you can take some cold medicine and be good in twenty-four hours. Rose told her father that she needed to be taken to the doctor because she wasn’t feeling well. Declan then got mad and interrogating towards Rose, but in the end after Rose told him she thought it was necessary, he took her. Declan took Rose to the local doctors office on Thursday. Rose then met with the doctor and proceed to explain to him what was going on. Once he was finished he said some big words that Rose didn’t quite understand; neither did Declan. After that he sent Rose straight to the local hospital to have further tests done. Rose didn’t know what was going on. She had no clue why the doctor couldn’t have been straight up with her and tell her what he thought was wrong. Instead he had to say that he wasn’t sure and didn’t want to say anything until more tests were done. Him saying that didn’t exactly make Rose any more comfortable about what was wrong with her; it only scared her more. On their way to the hospital Rose knew something was wrong. She could just feel it the whole car ride there.

Once Rose and Declan got to the hospital a nurse was waiting for them. She took them back to do tests that ended up taking the rest of the day and into the night. By ten they were finished and the nurse said that she would call them when the results came in. That night seemed like forever to Rose much longer than it actually was. The next morning Rose didn’t go to school. She hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before and wasn’t feeling so great either. Around noon the call came in. Declan received it at work and immediately came home. The doctor from the hospital wanted Rose to come right in for even more tests. By then both Rose and Declan were tired and worried. Being at the doctors all day yesterday and if things were going to be like yesterday, all day today, to say the least it didn’t float Declan’s boat. He knew it was best, though and that the doctors knew what they were doing. At three Rose and Declan were waiting in the already familiar waiting room, waiting on the results. Dr. Reed was the doctor that Rose had while in the hospital. Dr. Reed told Declan that the tests would only take a half an hour or so to develop and after that they can discuss the results.

A half an hour later Dr. Reed called Declan and Rose back to his office. He said that when she first came in, the doctor that checked her out at her local pediatrician had called saying that her symptoms were ones not needed to be looked further by himself, but by a specialist. Dr. Reed said that the first thing he noticed when he ran Rose’s tests was how abnormal her white blood cells were, which could only lead to a hand full of things. One being leukemia. The others weren’t too far from being as scary as that, either. In the end the leukemia test came up as positive. Rose indeed had leukemia.

At first Rose didn’t know what to do or what to say. No one was ready to hear that. Although I doubt anyone really would be ready to hear that they have leukemia. Rose didn’t even really know what leukemia was. It wasn’t a very common thing back then and no one Rose knew had leukemia, or even cancer. Dr. Reed explained that leukemia is a cancer in your white blood cells. There are four kinds of leukemia: Acute Lymphocytic leukemia, Acute Myelogenous leukemia, Chronic lymphocytic leukemia , and Chronic Myelogenous leukemia. Rose had Acute Lymphocytic leukemia.

It is now present day, which is 1979; May to be exact. Two years after Rose got diagnosed with leukemia. This is the part of the story that I am suppose to take my time with and build up the courage to write the words no one would ever want to write. I am suppose to go off into space and write about how good she was doing. I can’t do that though. No, it wouldn’t be a lie, but then again going, rambling on about Rose and the leukemia is too much; at least right now. What story would be a story without a tragic end? Yes, I could write a happy story about Rose and her battle against life, but most definitely then I would be lying. Rose lived seventeen bad years. When people die, people are suppose to say that they lived 17 good years, but with Rose it is a little different. Life is not easy and fighting the big battle is not easy without a sword. Yes, in the end the leukemia took over and fell along with it. In the beginning things were going ok, as I am told. She was getting treatments in the hospital at least once a week and the cancer was contained for a few months. Then the infections started rolling in uncontrollably. Her blood counts keep dropping and wouldn’t be lifted up. She fought hard through infection and infection, but soon her body weakened. Dr. Reed said that when she had come to him, Rose had already had the leukemia for weeks. It had already progressed so much in that short of time. There wasn’t much Dr. Reed could do after the leukemia had gotten to a certain point.

It wasn’t just hard on Rose; it was hard on Declan too. Suffering through work when all he wanted was to be with Rose, trying to stay away from the temptations, and having to pay two big bills every month, had to be hard work! He had to pay both the rent and the hospital bills every month and it seemed like every month went by, he was in debt even more. Rose was in the hospital for two months until she was finally free to go home and finish treatments there. She was able to stay home and out of the hospital for almost a year until things started getting bad. She had to be signed back in the hospital on November 8, 1978 because of an infection and ended up not leaving until Rose made the hardest decision of her life and decided to make them stop treating her. She knew it wasn’t going to work or at least it didn’t seem like it. As everyday passed she felt more and more dead, but she wasn’t dead yet. She knew that it was only a matter of time before Dr. Reed said he could do nothing more, so she decided it would be in her best interest if she just stop the treatments and let the leukemia take it’s toll. Of course no one was happy about that. In many minds it was like she was trying to kill herself, but she knew that what ever was meant to be will be and she had a feeling God was telling her what he wanted her to do.

After Rose got diagnosed she started going to church as much as she could. Having leukemia made it hard to get to church every Sunday, but whenever she could she did. She started a new relationship with God and knew that whatever was meant to be will be. She just had to believe in God and trust him. When she asked for all of her treatments to be stopped she had a feeling that is what God wanted and was going to believe him and trust him.

After Rose made her decision in February to stop the treatments she was released from the hospital and could go home. In the end her only wish was to die at home, in the comfort of her own house. Everyone knew what was going to happen in the end, but everyone had their hopes up until the very end; even if Rose wasn’t getting better, only worse.

Rose died on April 3, 1979, when she was seventeen years old. She died in the comfort of her own home with her friends and her family; most of her family. She died just the way she wanted to. I didn’t know Rose that well until she died. That was my loss; my big loss. My name is Heather Roberts and I am one of the biggest reasons Rose had such a terrible life. My therapist said that I should start writing my feelings in this diary, but the problem is, I don’t really know my feelings. I know that leaving Declan and Rose was a mistake the minute I got out of the car in Atlanta, but it wasn’t like I could just go and turn around and go home. I left my parents once and both Declan and I struggled just as much as Declan did without me. I knew that I needed to start over and get into a good school, so I can get a good job, but I couldn’t knock off the empty feeling I got every time I saw a family. Sadly, families are all over the place. You can’t go a block without seeing a mommy and a daddy with their little baby. Leaving Rose was the hardest thing I have ever done and I am not proud of it. I could have had a lot more than I do now. Yes, I have a good job that pays the bills, but love like Declan’s never came again. No one could ever replace Declan and Rose in my heart. I had been thinking about moving back to Cincinnati for a long time, but worried that if I got there I would feel lost and confused. That Declan wouldn’t want me back and Rose wouldn’t even know who I was. I can’t blame Declan if he didn’t want me back. I wouldn’t want me back if I was in his position, but I definitely wanted to see my little girl. Even though in Declan’s head I probably look like a heartless woman that only cares about herself, but I am not. I am not a robot that can live life knowing I had a daughter and a boyfriend that both loved me and I was selfish and left all of that. I will admit that I am selfish. Let me rephrase that, I was selfish. I most definitely learned my lesson and I will never be so stupid again. The day that I got the call from Declan about Rose’s death I was on my way back to Cincinnati. I knew in my heart that was the right decision and I severely needed to stop listening to my parents and start listening to my heart. In the end I was too late. All of these years Declan keep my number and all of these years he didn’t call once. Not even when Rose got sick! Hearing that Rose had died tore my heart to pieces. I never got to meet my daughter and that will forever haunt me.

Rose’s death not only took a toll on my life, but on Declan’s too. He hasn’t been the same since. Although it has only been almost a month since she died you can already tell how Declan will never be the same again. Rose really was the one person that saved Declan’s life. His life was headed for disaster and Rose made him open his eyes and see what future he could have if he tried. Rose is an inspiration to all. She has courage and zeal, like no one else I could ever know. What Declan says about his little angel is remarkable. She, in my opinion, has had enough struggles in her life to last her forever. She never gave up, through. Rose had to grow up far sooner than any of her class mates. She had to get a job at age ten plus maintain at least a B average in school. Living with a father that is drunk half the time and when he is not drunk he is on some kind of drug. Declan is not a stable person and Rose always was his rock that keep him from making even more mistakes than he already had.

Rose teaches me that life isn’t easy and it never will be, but you have to roll with life’s punches and man up. You can’t let life take you down; you have to take life down. All throughout Rose’s life she never once said that she had a bad life. She never once got mad about where she was and with who she was. She wasn’t bitter like most people would be. Rose is a fighter and even though she is dead her sole will live on forever in my heart. I know that I haven’t always been there for her and that was my mistake. Her life could have been totally and completely different if I were around, but then again Rose turned out to be everything that I wanted her to be; kind, loving, strong, a fighter. I will never be able to go back and relive my decision ;relive being a part of Rose’s life, but I will treasure her memory forever.

God is looking down on all of us right now. He doesn’t want our lives to be bad. No, he wants them to be good, but if everyone got everything that they wanted then people would grow up being selfish and rotten. God doesn’t want that. He wants people to live life trying to be the best person they can. No one is perfect and surely Declan is not. People make mistakes that is life, but you have to be the bigger person, like Rose, and take those mistakes and make them work. Getting mad and giving up won’t help anything and Rose knew that.

This is my message to you. I know who I am not. I am a mistake. Everyone is a mistake. Everyone will make mistakes because no one is perfect, but it is the mistakes that happen in life, that make you who you are. Rose had to overcome some difficult odds and surely some will say the odds weren’t in her favor. She didn’t listen to them she keep positive and only looked at the things she did have. She had a father that loved her, a friend who was true, a home, food on the table, and love for this world. Other people’s lists of what they have can be longer, but there are people out there where their list is shorter. People can learn from Rose. You just have to try. So, I urge anyone who has ever made a mistake or who knows someone that has made a mistake in their lives, to accept that they are human and stop looking at the bad about it and look at the good. When I left it was a mistake I made, but would Rose have turned out the way she did if I had stayed? That is something I may never know and I don’t want to. No one is perfect so embrace it!

After I just got done going on and on about how Rose really did change my life for the better I am thinking you may want to know how the story ends. Well the story ends like this, even though Rose is gone her memory lives in both Declan and myself. After Rose’s funeral I decided it was time to move back home, whether my parents felt it was right or not. I was unhappy in Atlanta and I knew I needed to come back. Slowly, but surely Declan and I reconnected. We both learned a lot from Rose. Even though it took some time Declan forgave me for making the worse decision of my life. Never again will I turn away from who I am. I got a job at Olivia’s flower shop and Declan is going back to school to be a professor. It is going to take a while, but he knows his calling now. Just recently we have started to listen to God’s message. God had a plan for Rose and her dying was part of the plan. We both decided her story needs to be heard, so we took some money and started a charity for the homeless. In our spare time we go around and do fundraisers to help raise money for the people in need. Our message to them is to never give up and to always think about the positive. Even if it feels like you are lower than low always remember that there is always hope. God has a plan for everyone, you just have to listen to understand. Both Declan and I want to make a difference in this world because we know that there needs to be a difference. People are getting more and more selfish as the years go by. Spreading Rose’s story to the world, I feel would make people understand how lucky they really are. A lot of people are blessed and don’t even know it. You know the saying you don’t know what you have until it is gone, well that comes into play with this. You don’t know how blessed you really are until you aren’t anymore. Don’t wait until your life become unblessed for you to realize all that you have because I know right now you are blessed and if you are not don’t worry because God knows what will come out of your life even if you do not.

Even though I love and miss Rose I will continue to spread her word around to people that feel hopeless, in hopes that Rose’s story can help save a life.





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