My 15 year cousin Taylor died of leukemia this morning. She had been battling cancer for 4 1/2 years. Taylor was as strong a person as I have ever met. Brave, always thinking of others, and deeply insightful for someone her age. But mostly she was a typical 15 year old kid whose life was cut way too short. I am glad to have known her and thankful that her long battle is over...
I think this will go down as the October of Grief. Three people that we have known and cared about have died in the past month. All of them of cancer. Can I just say that sometimes life is completely unfair? I have spent an awful lot of time lately talking about death with my children. We read books and end up having conversations about dying. We play in the leaves and then discuss funerals. We drive to school and talk about cancer. Katherine takes it all in with a sort of resigned acceptance. Rachel voices her greatest fears - that Grandma and Grandpa or Granny and Poppy or Daddy or I will die. And all I can tell her is that yes, we will, but I hope not for a long, long time. I worry that the girls are beginning to think that cancer = dead so I keep reminding them that lots of people get cancer and most of them end up being okay. I list off cancer survivors that they know and point out how very much alive they are. There is a tinge of grief to our days and I feel like I am running around trying to patch up the worst of the leaks of sorrow.
Katherine was watching news coverage of Hurricane Sandy this evening. This, of course, brought up the subject of death. Kate sighed and said, "It's a good thing we don't have any relatives in New York, because they'd just be one more name on the list. One more person to die."
For now, I'm going to hold my daughters close and tuck them into bed. Tomorrow is Halloween and Katherine's Gotcha Day and there are many things to celebrate about the last day in October. But I will be glad for a new month and maybe a break in the grief.