If you’ve been following my vague tweets all week, you’ll know that what I want to discuss today isn’t all laughs and squeaks. It’s something that has affected my life and all my classmates lives and many more in my community. It’s something that I’ve wanted to discuss for a while now, but haven’t had the motive to until now. Today isn’t all about laughs. I want to do something I rarely do: Be serious.
The very word makes you shiver. You can feel the negative connotation. It’s this word that has taken many from us and will continue for quite a while.
About four years ago a girl in my class was diagnosed with cancer. For these four years she has fought bravely and has been an inspiration to us all. Monday morning my teachers announced that she had passed away. There was not one person in the Senior class who had the pleasure of having class with her who didn’t feel…broken inside.
This is not my first experience with cancer. A majority of the women in my family have had it and my dog died from it this summer. However, to have had someone my age, someone who I’d gotten to know and had classes with and memories with, it was shattering. I don’t know what else to say.
One of my favorite books is called The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. The novel is about a teenage girl (Hazel) who has lung cancer. She falls in love with a boy (Augustus) who has a relapse with osteosarcoma. The last fourth of the book is about Augustus fighting the cancer and then eventually dying. The book has a very emotional attachment to me. I always cry that last fourth.
The Fault in Our Stars is so relatable because when someone dies, especially of something so life-sucking as cancer, we remember them for how they died. Augustus makes a big point in the book that he wants to be remembered for doing something great, not for being sick. John Green got this right. We will remember this girl for being ill and fighting, but we might not remember her for how funny she was during class or all the other amazing memories we have with her.
Cancer is one of those ugly things that has done so much wrong and nothing good. As someone who has recently lost a classmate, I ask that you think about those in your lives and make the memories that you will remember after they die, not how they die.
I’m sorry for being so serious this week. I just really wanted to get my thoughts out on this whole subject. In the book classmates and other community members write on Augustus’ social media page and Hazel says that people only write about their death. I refrained from writing anything this week, as I wanted to save it for here, where I am not just mourning a loss but trying to recreate the happy memories.
Next week I’ll be cheerful.
Stay class Internet.