One Last Writing On Cancer, And I'm Done For A While

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 6.03% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

WARNING: Complicated feels ahead.  Step carefully. I tried to.
I have two daughters.  My elder daughter, Erin, lives nearby.  And she comes over some nights, and watches bad television with us (I don’t know how many wedding reality TV shows we’ve collectively watched), and we have drinks and discuss the world and it is glorious.  And I don’t discuss that joy with you folks because a) it’s not at all unusual, b) Erin has not asked to clamber upon the stage of my little blog-world here, and c) she is the star of my world, not yours.
Erin makes me proud every time I see her.  She is growing.  She is beautiful.  She is emerging from the confusion that everyone seems to stumble through in their mid-twenties to achieve some form of stability, and hearing about her triumphs and setbacks is one of the highlights of my life.
And I get far more happiness in one unblogged discussion with her than I do in tearfully chronicling Rebecca.
I do write about Rebecca, because her time on Earth here is short and her troubles great.  But there’s also Rebecca’s sister and her brother, both of whom are equally beautiful and beloved to me, neither of whom I have to write about because (as far as I know) they will be around to chronicle themselves.   It’s an honor to share Rebecca with you, but in a better world Rebecca would be the source of a few silly Tweets, maybe an anecdote blogged without her name to protect the privacy of a child, and I would have the privilege of racing around with this crazy kid and not sitting down at a keyboard sniffling back snot.
Maybe I’m sharing some of her magic with you.  That’s a consolation.  But it’s a very small one, as I would by far rather be greedy and keep all the Rebecca to myself.
Plus, if we’re listing the people who have done their best to capture the essence of Rebecca in words, I’m not even the best writer.  That honor would go, as it should, to her father Eric, who has written a beautiful fucking essay on what the cancer has done to her, called “The Thief Of Light.”  If you want to know what Rebecca is, then go and read it, because he sums her up far better than I could.
(And my wife wrote a very brilliant essay herself on fighting cancer, which summarizes my surprising reaction.)
I’m glad you’re responding to Rebecca.  I really am.  But there is a bittersweetness of that that sticks in the throat for me, because Rebecca is well-known in certain parts of the Internet now, and some will be heartbroken when she passes.  Which is much better than anonymity, I suppose, more than most terminally ill kids get, but it’s not as much as a Rebecca.
So what I’d far rather hear than “You immortalized her” (which I didn’t, and never wanted to) was, “I was so moved that I donated my time and/or money to try to stop this horrible disease.”  And I know not everyone can; you’re all busy, and have your own causes, and bills to pay.  But what would make me feel best about Rebecca would be to know that we found a reliable cure for, at least, this type of brain tumor, and that nobody will ever again go through what we had to go through.
Our pain is public.  And as Spider Robinson once wisely said, “Shared pain is lessened; shared joy, increased — thus do we refute entropy.”  And so I thank you for listening.
But once experienced, pain is always shared.  There’s a part of me that can never sleep, knowing that someone else is enduring this.  And I’ll do what I can to end that for them, and for Rebecca.  Because every child is special to those who love them.
Actually?  Every person is.

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