Second Star to the Right

November 11, 2012
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I’m not entirely sure when I knew I would die. Maybe it was when the doctor called me in for an unexpected appointment. Maybe it was when they took all the tests. Maybe it was when they told me that the results weren't good. But I think it was when I saw my five year old daughter on the playground the next day, running up to me, completely unaware, and giving me her famous monster hug.

That was the moment a single tear rolled down my cheek.

There was no point in treatment, they said. It may only quicken the spread of the disease, or make it more painful. I didn't ask about the details, I didn't want to. Three months later, it was December, and, given less than two weeks to live, I consulted my parents on the matter.

“Should I tell her?” was my question.

“She deserves to know,” was my mother’s reply.

“She’ll want to know why there will only be two place settings at dinner,” was my father’s reply.

But I couldn't tell her. I wasn't ready.

Then I asked my husband, who was keeping strong for both of us.

“I can no longer tell you what to do. I can only treasure our time together,” was his reply.

“But should I tell her?” was my question.

“She will know eventually. Maybe its better coming from you,” was his answer. They all made perfect sense to me, I understood all the reasons. I knew I had to tell her.

But I couldn't. I wasn't ready.

On Sunday evening, when the pain was excruciating, I knew I wouldn't make it through the night, so I read my little girl a bedtime story. I read her Peter Pan. Our favorite.

“And there they went, off to Never Land. To live Happily Ever After,” were the last words of the book.

“Why can’t we go to Never Land, Mummy?” was her question, cuddling up to me under the covers. I held her tight. Now was the time, I thought. Now was the time to tell her.

“We do. We all do. When we close our eyes, and start dreaming, we all go to the magical place where nobody grows up,” was my answer. I closed my eyes, to try and hold back the tears. I had to be strong, for her, I had to be brave.

“I love you Mummy,” were her words as I smoothed out her bed sheets and kissed her forehead.

“And remember, second star to the right!”

“And straight on ‘till morning,” were the last words I ever spoke to my little girl. I had to tell her, was my thought.

But I couldn't tell her. I wasn't ready.

Me and Mummy were going to go for a walk in the woods today! I had a day off school, and it was raining a lot. I love this weather, and so does Mummy. I was so excited! I put on my yellow rain coat and polka-dotted wellies, and ran down the stairs into the kitchen. Daddy was sitting at the table with two place settings. He was crying.

“Oh, hello, darling, are you ready to go for a walk in the rain?” was what Daddy said.

“ OK! Is Mummy already in the woods?” was my question as he took my hand.

“Mummy’s not coming today, Lily. She’s gone to Never Land,” was his reply.

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KeepLiving said...
Jan. 26, 2013 at 1:34 pm
HA! you have more courage than me. You want you're work out want everyone to know that this is what you want to do. I'm afraid to be judged, that's why i like TeenInk because apart from you I don't know anybody else :) you will publish because you want it with a passion. I love you're writing. (Royal Charade <3 ) xx
KeepLiving said...
Jan. 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm
I love this story, you know I do. It almost made me cry. 
RunningBear replied...
Jan. 26, 2013 at 5:53 am
Oh darling... you know that isn't true.  I love it when I see your writing, it is so inspirational - I get so jealous!
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