Mother & Daughter

Silent screams ripped through my skull. I clutched her hand and stroked her golden hair. She? She was stone-faced and silent. The news which made an ordinary doctor’s appointment take a turn for the worse hadn’t fully sunk in. For that, I was utterly grateful. If she could spend even twenty more seconds in a carefree world, I would be satisfied. Children shouldn’t know the sorrow of worrying each day may be their last, but my daughter would. While she was motionless, I was filled with an overwhelming pain that shook me down to my bones. There was a great possibility my daughter wouldn’t make it past her senior year and there was nothing I could do to help her. I could only hold her and be with her each step of the way. Dr. Pollane gently rubbed her limp shoulder.

“We have beaten cancer more than once. We will beat it again,” he reassured her, but no reply came from my glassy-eyed daughter.

 “Thank you doctor.” I leaned in close, making sure my daughter looked straight at me. “We will get through this together.”

Months later I sit in black.
Photographs surround me
As I tremble in the darkness
Pictures of my daughter with locks of hair
Laughing and smiling
And pictures of her laughing and smiling
Even when her head was bare
Letters lay unopened on the floor
Letters she made oh so kindly
When she finally accepted her fate
Letters made out to me
To encourage, to heal and to remember.

I still couldn’t fathom how my daughter was chosen
It should’ve been me
Not my angelic daughter
Who fed the hungry and read to the elderly
Who played soccer even though she knew she was no good
Not my daughter
Who blew bubbles and danced in the rain
Who aspired to be dozens of things and let her imagination run wild
Not my daughter
Who insisted on church even when she could barely stand
Who made it a tradition to go bowling on Tuesdays
and pig out on cheap wings and french fries…

It could’ve been me
I was given the chance
How was it determined I would live through cancer
But my daughter wouldn’t?

Ruthie Isaacson is a freshman in high school who loves writing, singing, and hanging out with her friends.