Relay for life has been going on at my school for about a month now.
I don’t get it. Why are people trying to raise money for a cureÂ that we have been trying to find for years and years? I think people are living on the possibility that there is a cure, but I really don’t think there is any point in wasting valuable money we earn with hard work on something that may never happen.
Yes, IÂ know it sounds just awful not to want to raise money for cancer, but I think I’m being realistic, or at least my depressed mind does.
Something happened to me though that changed my mind. I met someoneÂ awhile back when I was in the hospital for attempting suicide near myÂ sixteenth birthday.
I had a hospital bed with only a curtain seperating me from the person on the other side, a person I didn’t know, didn’t want to know, but somehow that didn’t matter.
“What’s your name?” a girl that looked no older then ten years old with shoulder length blonde hair and a pretty little smile on her peach lips asked me, drawing back the curtain.
I looked around for my mother, but she had decided to leave me to wallow in my own self pity.
“Violet”,Â I didn’t look at her.
“My names Alyson”, she said, her voice giddy like a little girls would be.
I was confused. Why would anyone be putting on a happy face if they were in the hospital? I didn’t expect to be in the hospital, I expected to be dead; I hate hospitals.
“What are you in here for?” she asked in an innocent voice.
I almost burst out laughing, it sounded like she was asking me what crime I committed to be sent here.
I sighed, glancing around me to see if any of the doctors noticed that I was being hurassed by a little girl.
The girl gulped, turning her brassy blueÂ eyes away from me for a moment, “I collapsed at school”, she said.
“Why?” I had to admit that I was interested.
The girl got really stony, “I was diagnosed withÂ leukemia when I was six and I thought I had gotten rid of it two years ago, but it turns out it’s back again”.
I just stared at her, leukemia was serious, you could die from that, and here I was wallowing over not dying when this girl was fighting for her life. I felt like such a fool.
“I tried to kill myself”.
She turned to me, her eyes brimming with tears, “Are you sad?” she asked.
I blinked at her, not knowing what to say. I didn’t know if I was sad, I didn’t know if I was angry, I just didn’t know.
“I don’t know”, I told her the truth.
Alyson sighed, leaning her head back on the Emergency room cot.
“I would never want to kill myself”.
I was surprised, “Really? Even if the doctors told you you were going to die a painful death soon?”
I didn’t think about the question before I asked it.
Alyson turned her eyes to me and smiled warmly, “Leukemia isn’t painless, and we all have to die someday, but I just couldn’t do it to myself, if I have to go, I’d rather go knowing I tried to live while I was here”.
I couldn’t speak, here was someone who was terminally ill again due to cancer and talking about dying as if it weren’t scary at all.
“Aren’t you at all afraid to die?” I was perplexed.
Alyson shrugged, “Not anymore. There comes a time when death stops being scary and just becomes a fact. What’s really scary is hope. You know, even if they found a cure for cancer tomorrowÂ I wouldn’t take it, I would just die, because if the cure doesn’t work, then I have gotten my hopes up for nothing, and that pain has to be worse then death”.
I began to sob in those moments, silent tears that cascaded down my cheeks and made faint tracks along my face.
“What’s wrong, Violet?” she asked, concern etched in her furrowed brow.
I shook my head, laughing and crying at the same time.
“Nothing, I just have a feeling your going to outlive me”.
Alyson is the smartest person I’ve ever met. I know what she means when she says that hope starts to become scarier then death, because I have felt that many times before. I just didn’t want to try and get better anymore, because if i tried and failed, then my hopes were even more dashed before, and you fall into an even deeper depression. Death starts to become less and less scary,Â because there is a certain guarantee that you will not fail, unless your mother catches you or you chicken out.Â Death is easy, it’s not painless, but it is easy. You don’t have to have a valid reason for wanting to die, you just need your heart to stop beating.Â How much easier could it get?
But what if I could get better? What if I could learn to let go of my past and love the people in my life? What if they find a cure for depression tomorrow? There are so many what ifs that I don’t want to have to think about, which is why a little girl with cancer is much stronger then me. She has already thought the what ifs through and lived through them so far. I could never do that, the pressure would just be overwhelming, and the pain of not knowing is more then agonizing.
Hope IS terrifying.
Oh, it’s Alysons birthday today.
Happy eleventh birthday my hospital buddy! 🙂