Dear Chloe: Cancer Sucks, Life Doesn’t Have To

Take a look at the man in the above image. Handsome, eh? A handful of people say he looked like George Clooney in The Men Who Stare at Goats and O Brother, Where Art Thou?. I suppose you can’t really tell in this picture, but they’re not far from the truth. There may be other images that capture this man better, but I love this one. The old-school aviator glasses, the plaid flannel and suspenders, the tent, the White Rain hairdo, the kinda ridiculous mustache, the sunshine and contemplative look. It’s a darn-good picture and it was taken many, many years ago. But not so many years ago, three years ago today to be precise, the man in this darn-good picture died of multiple myeloma, a devastating form of leukemia.

The man in this picture is my dad.

We all expect to bury our parents some day, but not at the vulnerable age of 18. As I was beginning college, what’s supposed to be an exciting time in a young woman’s life, I was in between two grieving processes. The first began six years ago today on July 31, 2011, when I first learned of his cancer and terminal prognosis. This process was complicated and confusing, as I was grieving a loss that had not yet occurred but I knew was inevitable. The second began the day he passed, July 31, 2014, exactly three years to-the-day after learning of his cancer in the first place. Uncanny, isn’t it?

The following is a letter I wrote to my past self of everything I needed to hear in that confusing period of grief. Continue reading “Dear Chloe: Cancer Sucks, Life Doesn’t Have To”