Tuesday, March 4, 2014

This Star Won't Go Out

I recently did a blog after reading John Green's book, The Fault In Our Stars.  That was about a fictional teenager, Hazel, who had cancer.  Since reading that book, I somehow came across This Star Won't Go Out.  This book is also about a teenager with cancer.  However, it's not fictional.  As you can see from the picture on the front of the book, it's about Esther Grace Earl who, at the age of 12, was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. The book includes an introduction from John Green, letters from her parents, siblings, and friends. It also includes writings and drawings from Esther.

I'm reading this book at work the other day and one of the salesman asked what I was reading. I said, "a journal of a teenager who had cancer." In my mind I'm thinking to myself, "why would anyone choose to read this?"

I started thinking...why am I reading these books? Why do I enjoy them so much?

I came to realize that it's an emotional escape for me. I don't know that I would have chosen to read these books had I not gone through what I did with Joey. I don't know that I could fully understand and appreciate what Hazel and Esther went through. Nor, what their family and friends went through. While I realize the diseases are completely different, there are some similarities.

They say there are five stages of grief. I don't know that I have experienced any one of those five stages. I can only recall one time since Joey passed that I really cried.  I was crying so hard I honestly could not breath and felt like I was having a panic attack. I even tried to breath into a paper bag.  By the way, that doesn't work -- at least not for me.

I think these books allow me to release some of the emotions inside of me.  It gives me a way to cry comfortably.  I have always said that if I sat and cried over Joey, I don't know if I'd stop. And, perhaps, I'm just never going to want to deal with those emotions. I don't know...I honestly can't say for sure.

Esther's friends and family had so many good things to say about her. She was... well their Star.  She was so mature for her age and so good at loving others. Even on her worst of days, she found something to be happy and grateful for.  That's what I always envied about Joey.  He never complained, he was always in a good mood, and always smiling.

Thank you to Hazel, Esther, and Joey for teaching me a few things.

"Just be happy, and if you can't be happy, do things that make you happy. Or do nothing with the people that make you happy." ~ Esther Earl


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