I’ve always been a reader. All throughout my childhood I read and read and read. I could never put a book down until I had experienced the full story to the very end. It amazes me how people can create such fascinating stories that lead you from one world to another within each chapter. I never stopped reading into adulthood either. I always have a book on hand whether I’m at work, in bed, or exercising. For me, these books allow me to live a life I never got to experience. They take me on a journey and leave me feeling happy, angry or, crying with a heavy heart to last days.
So, when I was diagnosed with an incurable cancer, one autumn afternoon three months ago, you can only imagine how many books I began to read. There’s something so ominous about knowing each page I turn could be the last. I had great difficulty choosing the books that would accompany me in this cold, empty white room. I have all the right things to be calm and yet being in this room is far from peaceful; a newborn cry sounds from the next room and an occasional beep from the machine beside me lets me know that my heart is still beating, gradually getting slower and slower.
I’m not afraid of dying. If you asked me a couple months ago, that answer would be different. But now, as I face the cold tendrils of death, just waiting to grab a hold of me, I’m quite content. I feel as though the life I have lived is that of one I wouldn’t dare spend any other way. And isn’t that really what we all want? To live a story worth writing about. My monitor begins to beep faster as doctors and nurses start filing into my room.
Beep, beep, beep
The noise around me starts to fade despite the rushed voices of people desperately trying to save me and the rapidly increasing monitor beeps.
Beep, beep, beep
Take a deep breath and listen. Listen past the voices and the beeping. Listen past the confines of this tiny room. Can you hear it? The newborn? That’s the sound of a new book beginning, a new story yet to be told. So, while mine may not be the happy ending we expect ourselves to finish on, a new one begins a mere fifty meters outside of the very room where my book will close.
But never stop telling my story, and never stop living through yours, because when one life ends, another is just beginning.