What Do I Know?

June 26, 2008
By Shelby Thomas, Rockport, ME

Dear Nana,

Well, I heard once that death is a hard thing to over come. I didn't really get it. I mean, I thought I did. I like to think that stuff doesn't affect me too much. I mean, I knew I would be sad, but here I am, doing an exercise from a “Coping with Loss” book, and you're still here. Sure, you're wasting away on a hospital bed, but I kinda feel ridiculous.

I suppose it's kind of silly, isn't it? You might laugh, if you were here, you might agree with something in me, something that brought me up here to write this letter, but I don't know, because you aren't here, you're miles away laying on a hospital bed. And I'm miles away laying on my own bed, waiting for my mom to drive home, to hear the car door slam, and hear the front door open, hear my dad get up from his chair in the study and walk out to the front room, hear both of you leave the front room. I'm just waiting. Waiting for her to come home too early. It's like I know it will happen, but at the same time, I know it won't. But wouldn't it be still worse if she came home to late? When is the right time for her to come home? I don't know. I don't really know much right now.

I thought that I was prepared for this. I'd given it enough thought every now and then. Ever since you moved into the nursing home. . . . I thought I'd handle it all calmly, you know? I wasn't sure if it would make me cry or not. I guess I'm kind of strange like that. Some things make me cry, and others. . . .others don't. But there's no pattern to it, so I don't really know if I will. I am now, though. I can hardly see what I'm writing. The ink is getting so smudged, it won't be legible when I'm done.

If I ever am. I don't know. Maybe this is one of those things you never finish. And when you die, or maybe even before that, I mean look at me, maybe someone else continues it, so you get this long line of letters to dead or dying people. But they're alive. The letters, I mean. Really alive. Alive with feeling. Maybe not this one, or maybe it is. What do I know?

But if I don't see you again, I just wanted to say good bye. I wanted to say thank you, and tell you that I love you, and I always will.


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This article has 3 comments.

anna said...
on Aug. 18 2008 at 2:58 pm
I'm really impressed, Shelby; this was a very touching article. It was definitely filled with feeling. Your story expressed the core of what teens go through when they have to deal with the fact they might lose someone they love. It might be unexpected or in your case, one has time to dwell on the fact. Either way, the pain will be there. Thank you for sharing! I hope you will continue writing; you have a gift.

givaughn said...
on Aug. 15 2008 at 9:18 pm
Thank you for sending this link to me, Shelby; I am both honored and impressed. Your letter is alive with sincere emotion, and I can relate to it. How much better can a writer do than moving other people? I look forward to many more "publishing notices" from you in the future. You are very talented, and you're off to a great start!

Schleb said...
on Aug. 14 2008 at 9:28 pm
That's really nice, Shelby! Well written.


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