Lost in Life, Found in Death

January 6, 2013
“I knew you were going to come,” said the physic. “I can see your future, and you’re about to be deathly ill. The first doctor will miss it, but the second will see.”
My phone chimes, and I answer to my mother’s unnaturally saddened voice. “It’s your auntie,” she tells me softly, “She has cancer.” A picture flashes through my mind, of the woman I know as my Auntie. The woman always so full of pure joy and laughter. The woman who raised me from the time I could crawl. The woman who is dying. “I just spoke with her, she’s had breast cancer for almost a year now, and hadn’t told a soul. It’s attached itself to her lung- she doesn’t have much time left.”

We went to dinner with Auntie and all the girls that night. She tells us everything, how it was only the words of the physic that brought her to the doctor that day. And as foretold, the first doctor told her there was nothing to worry about, but the second doctor nailed it as cancer. She tells us of her mom, who is not only disowning her, but suing her for thousands. She tells us of her oldest son, who is changing his name so he doesn’t have to be reminded that he’s related to her. She tells us of her sister, who said not to bother coming over for Christmas-they don’t want to see her. She tells us how much she cries and cries. She tells us we’re the only ones who know she’s dying.

How can people be so cruel? Here not only is this woman dying, this fun, loving woman, but all her family can do is treat her like the dirt beneath our feet. This woman deserves so much better. Its true-we never know what another person is going through, but why not give them the benefit of the doubt? I’m sure we’d all regret it to no end, if we treated someone with so much hate and disrespect, only to find them in a coffin the next week. For me, it’s hard to come to terms with death. It’s hard to imagine that one day a person will be gone forever, and all the time it takes is the snap of fingers. Life can be cruel. We suffer and lose the people we love in the blink of an eye, yet we have to keep on living like nothing is wrong. But yet, life can be so beautiful and magnificent. We meet the most amazing people who bring joy to our everyday lives. It’s for these people that we have to be strong. To return to them the joy they bring to us.

I realize, as I’m sitting at dinner watching my poor auntie crack cancer jokes, how lucky I am to have met this woman. She truly is a diamond among stones, in my eyes. She has the ability to make you forget the world, and I almost forget how sick she is until I look down and notice her fragile skin and bloody flakes where her fingernails used to be. And as I hug her for what could very well be the last time, I can’t help but be eternally thankful to have known this amazing woman.

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