As any journey is ultimately completed step by step, a child’s walk with cancer is made bead by bead. Each shape strung on twine marks an event – a surgery, treatment, procedure – or more essentially – scars, pain, tears. When viewed in total, a powerful story emerges, one of courage in the face of loss.
We are all scarred in some way. We have experienced life-altering news, soul-wrenching pain, and spirit-jarring loneliness. Our losses pile up like cast-off leaves.
A tree knows scars, too. As each leaf is literally cut off from inside the branch, a scab forms to protect the tree. The process of renewal we celebrate in spring survives winter. Leaf by leaf we are changed.
Writing has been part of my life for as long as I’ve had reason to craft a story, which as the fifth of five children is pretty much always. At the hands of my three brothers, I explored action-packed tales of intrigue (theirs) and survival (mine). I dictated scripts for my three imaginary friends – Sally Carter, Quince and Mr. Nobody –to act out with me. In school I discovered that pairing wide-ruled paper and bread…
I, unlike my mother, have not always viewed writing (or reading for that matter), as a way to entertain myself. I did dream up exciting storylines to act out with my trusted Polly Pockets; however, I never put pen to paper to document our adventures. My failed attempt at keeping a journal through middle school only recalls the time I discovered white cheddar Cheetos and my 12th birthday party at the bowling alley….