Cancer Stories

An Open Letter to Life

To Life,

I write to you as I am sitting quietly at my desk. This is where I am most comfortable. Writing, I mean, my desk chair is a little too hard if I am being honest. I sit here to think. I think about you often. It’s hard not to.  All I have to do is look out my window, and you’re right there. I suppose if you’re reading this, and I suppose if I am writing this, it’s because I’m worried. I knew this day would always come, but I will admit I was surprised by its suddeness.

I’m worried that I may never see you again. Don’t worry, I am not mad. Really, I’m just sad. I don’t know what I’ll do without you, and it pains me to think that you know exactly what you’ll do without me. During my entire brief existence, you’ve been there. I have never known a time, will never know a time, that I couldn’t count on you. It weighs on me to know that if today was my last day, you would still wake up at the same time, and go to sleep just fine. Maybe you won’t even notice that I am gone. It’s not your fault, you have always been true to yourself, and I wouldn’t expect that to change for anyone.

You gave me everything. It was perfect. I never wanted for anything, and I have to suspect it was because you were playing favorites.

I want to take a moment to acknowledge that.

For all of those that you gave me to love, and let them love me in return, I say thank you. For all of those that you sent to challenge me, and to help me grow, I am grateful. For those moments that seemed designed just to make me smile, that seemed like they would never come to an end, I applaud you. For those moments that made me cry, and for those still to come, I salute you.

You taught me early on that there is no right way to go about this. I may want there to be, or wish you would tell me, yes, you did it right, and a part of me hopes you still will, even though I know you won’t. I decided back then that there really only seemed like one way to do it. Looking back, it was never a choice at all. It felt so extraordinary to have you with me, that each day I was forced to be filled with joy. As my mom would tell me, your cup overfloweth. I know that cannot be a real word, but it is a perfect description of what you gave me.  I hope that everyone I came into contact with could feel that too.

There are so many intricacies to you, and I still hope to one day map each one out. It feels like a special project that I was assigned, but now I know why there was no due date. The plans that you helped me make were so close to being realized that I forgot that was all they were, plans. When you’re young, it can be easy to mistake them for reality. It became even easier to do so when the reality you have placed before me seems so unfamiliar that it feels like there must have been a mix up somewhere along the way.

Anyways, I will leave you with this.

Even now, after everything we have been through, it seems as if there is so much pressure on me to speak profoundly or wisely as I reflect on our time together. You seem to demand that, but I don’t think I will. It wouldn’t be true to myself. I don’t want to make this into something it’s not because you’re not profound or complex or deep. You’re simple. I find that people often find the profundity they so desperately seek in your simplicity and call it wisdom. They say it can take a lifetime to find it, to find what has always been right there according to them. I think it really just takes a moment if you stop looking for it in the wrong places.

Every day I spend with you is a gift.



One thought on “An Open Letter to Life

  1. Will, you are such an incredible writer. Although we haven’t met in person, I could absolutely feel “it” in your voice when you gave me MCAT advice. You helped me gain the confidence to tackle a new situation, and your drive motivated me to persevere through the uncertainties. I’m thankful for your guidance and am keeping you in my prayers!

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