the patient’s worries.

in her notes, my mom refers to cancer as c, as in c doesn’t care. i get angry when i think i did everything right. so many others eat garbage, smoke and drink too much. then they say, ‘catch c in its earliest stage’ but how do you catch it early if you have no warning that something could be wrong.

whenever i tell someone that the cancer developed as tonsilar, the follow-up question concerns smoking. the answer is no, she never did.

i don’t mean to suggest that the quotation i’ve isolated above is indicative of the tenor throughout the notebooks she began writing in may. she would blush at the idea that good deeds excuse one from terminal illness. in an effort to calm us she often writes, why not me? what makes me any different than others? and she means it. honestly, she would tell each of you sorry for having to read her thoughts that i’ve so crudely copied into the opening paragraph. the truth is, she seldom thinks about herself — she worries about my dad not working enough hours, she asks the nurse for extra juice to keep me hydrated, she regrets not having made scones when my sister’s friends visit.

if cookie monster were here, she would apologize for commandeering his letter.


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