It was the worst night I could have ever dreamed of. That was the night that her mom called to ask if I could come and say “good-bye” to her. This wasn’t any ordinary farewell; it was for forever.
Michelle had been diagnosed with cancer and had then been given an estimate of how many days she would live. When those final days came, my life was filled with anxiety. Even if I had only met her this year, she already was the star of my heart. Her blond hair was always well kept and flowing. Her icy blue eyes seemed to give forth laughter. Her smile always warmed me up inside. Oh, how I miss her little laughs. She always put forward an effort and had a good attitude. She had a hearty spirit, even through her hardest points of life. Like just before she, well, you know…
Anyway, we had known each other for some time. And we both had an interest in each other, and I was planning to wait until her sixteenth birthday to ask her out. But, something got in the way of that.
That night, I had been emailing my friend Dylan when the phone rang. My dad answered it and grew very serious and had a grave face as he put his hand over the receiver and turned to me. I froze mid-sentence, as I thought of what this could mean.
“Caleb, it’s Mrs. Schmidt. She says that Michelle requested you to come say,” He choked on his words, “um, good-bye. I, I’m sorry Caleb, I’ll drive you over.” He muttered softly.
“Thanks dad. I’m coming.” I said trying not to look or sound petrified. She wants me to come say ‘GOOD-BYE’! I can’t, not now, no, no, no, I can’t do it. I screamed to myself.
We climbed into his car and started off. It was a quiet ride. I stared out the window and thought about what I should say. My dad must have decided not to say anything, and that was a wise decision. When we got there, I slowly got out and looked up at her window.
Inside, there was a prayer circle in her living room. As we came in, they looked up and greeted us. “Good evening. Would you like to join?” So we did, then Mrs. Schmidt beckoned me out into the dining room.
“She’s up in her room, the one with ‘Princess’ written on the door.” I thanked her and started up the stairs.
Michelle’s 3 brothers sat huddled at the bottom stair and glanced up at me and then moved over to let me continue. One of them, I think it was Carson, looked at me and said, “Are you going to kiss her?” I pondered that for a moment and answered, “No, I don’t think I will.” I almost chuckled at this.
Michelle’s dad was just coming out of her room and greeted me with a nod. “Thanks for coming over, she’ll appreciate it.”
Mustering up all the courage I had, I walked in. On her bulletin board I saw the picture that I had given her. It was next to the one she had given me a copy of. That made me real happy, but then I turned and faced her.
She was propped up on pillows and was attempting a smile at me. I grinned at her. I walked over to her side. Her once well kept hair was now straggly and scarce in most parts. Her icy blue eyes looked tired and frightened. I pulled up her chair and looked at her.
“So, I guess life’s been tough ‘round here. My place is pretty quiet too. Did you know they’ve got a prayer circle going on downstairs for you? I guess I’m not the only one who cares about you.”
She giggled and said, “I’m glad you came over. I’ve been lonely up here all alone, with the exception of my family. I missed you. I guess I haven’t got much time left here on earth. Will you miss me if I do die?” she questioned.
“I will, of course. But maybe you will live. Don’t think so negatively!” I told her.
“But I trust what the doctors say about living a certain number of days. I don’t want to die, but I’ll go to better place, right?” she questioned again.
“So dying can’t be to bad. Even if I lose my family and you.” she started to cry. Not knowing what to do, I took her hands in mine. She threw her arms around my neck and I plucked her from her bed. She had no weight to her! She cried into my arms, and I felt her tremble in pain and agony.
“Michelle, oh Michelle, It’s all going to be OK. Don’t you worry, stop your crying, you’re hurting yourself.” I exclaimed.
“Caleb, I know I’m gonna die. And soon, I’m gonna die soon. I don’t wanna die. Oh, I don’t wanna die.” She cried.
Then I laid her back down on her bed, and she ceased her crying and looked up at me. “ But I have to stay strong until the end,” she concluded.
“Of course you do.” I reassured her with a warming smile.
We stayed in these positions for quite some time. Then she drifted off into sleep, and I stayed in her room just to keep her company, but I was watching her for a half-hour. Michelle lay peacefully in her bed and looked so beautiful lying there that I thought I would kiss her.
After thinking about that for a minute, I reached out and touched her hand; it felt strangely cold. With a yelp I jerked my hand back. Then I reached for her head, also cold.
“NO!” I shouted in rage. My cry roused the people from downstairs. They rushed up the stairs and found me trying to bring Michelle back to earth. Shaking in rage and agony, I rushed from the room. Being a runner, I ran from the house and sprinted around her block.
When I came back I threw myself on the ground and looked up at the sky and cried aloud, “Why GOD? Why did you have to take Michelle now? She was only 15. Only 15! Why?” I called out.
My dad came out and coaxed me inside but first told me this; “It takes a strong man to cry”. The family was weeping and hugging each other.
I attempted to give comfort, but I had enough trouble living through what I had just gone through. I wanted to leave this house and never come back, but I couldn’t bear leaving just the same.
As a teenager who just experienced death up close, I couldn’t contain myself. I didn’t know what to do. I wandered around the house, sometimes even walking upstairs and into her room where she lay, lifeless, on her bed.
One time when I had wandered up there, I looked upon her and remembered my dads words to me, “ It takes a strong man to cry.” Suddenly, I felt the need to break down. Michelle had known that she was definitely dying and decided to just deal with it. She was a great gal and I really appreciate how much she loved life and her family. She even said as her last words, “But I have to stay strong.” and strong she stayed.
When the coroner came to take her away, I was refreshed (from a good, hard cry) and ready for anything that came at me. After all, I had just watched my future girlfriend die, hadn’t I?
Now that I know how much death can hurt others, I have decided to try to give a helping hand towards various cancer societies. People all sigh and roll their eyes in boredom when exciting stories end like this, but cancer happens to people whether they like or not. So I just try to be of assistance and help keep people alive so that their families don’t have to go through what Michelle’s did. I hope that the next time you see a cancer fundraiser, you don’t pass it by, you stop and hear their story.
- Title: "Good-bye"
- Artist: livN4christ
This is a story that I wrote a few days after I had attended an Alex's Lemonade Stand. I know its depressing, but such is life. I hope you enjoy, and are also changed.
Oh, and yes, this is in the point of view of a teenage boy.
- Date: 09/08/2009
- Tags: goodbye cancer
- Reference Image: