I Love You ~ painting by Elena Desserich
Notes Left Behind
by Brooke and Keith Desserich
Brooke and Keith Desserich's personal journal entries -- about their six - year - old daughter Elena -- describe the last 256 days of Elena's life, starting with the tragic discovery of an inoperable tumor in her brain. Their loving anecdotes capture the despair and joy of each remaining day and preserve the precious personality of Elena, creating a memoir to be read in the future by little sister Gracie.
The Fault In Our Stars
by John Green
John Green's novel -- about the fictional seventeen - year - old Hazel Grace Lancaster, who has been living with thyroid cancer since the age of thirteen -- is based on his experience as a student chaplain in a children's hospital, helping children with life-threatening illnesses. Through Hazel and her friend Gus, Green opens our eyes to the tension of teen - age angst, compounded by the hope and uncertainty of living with cancer.
Each of these sad sweet books is about an intelligent, creative, admirable girl engaged in a heartbreaking struggle against cancer. Though quite different in style and genre, the two stories explore similar themes: the sorrow of diagnosis at such a young age; the unfairness of interrupted youth; the reorganization of the family around new needs and priorities; the courage and energy of a bright young patient determined to seize the day no matter what the odds against her.
Both books brought to mind these sad lyrics from the musical Evita:
"Oh what I'd give for a hundred years
But the physical interferes
Every day more, O my Creator
What is the good of the strongest heart
In a body that's falling apart?
A serious flaw, I hope You know that . . .
Your little body's slowly breaking down
You're losing speed, you're losing strength, not style
That goes on flourishing forever
But your eyes, your smile
Do not have the sparkle of your fantastic past
If you climb one more mountain it could be your last
I'm not that ill, bad moments come but they go
Some days are fine, some a little bit harder
But that doesn't mean we should give up our dream
Have you ever seen me defeated?
Don't you forget what I've been through and yet
I'm still standing
Eva, you are dying
So what happens now?
Where am I going to?
Don't ask anymore . . . "
Marilyn, 7 March 1957 - 27 November 1993
Celine, 27 August 1942 - 24 April 1997
Dagmar, 13 April 1959 - 9 March 2011