My aunt is crying in the other room.
That’s why I’m in Seattle now: because she has a brain tumour. She’s dying, slowly and quickly at the same time.
Glioblastoma Malignant Stage 4, Aggressive.
A year. That’s what she’ll have if she accepts treatment. She doesn’t want to, not right now. So she’ll have four months. Maximum.
Aunt Marilyn was like my second mother. She was the nicer one, I guess, not that my mum isn’t nice. But Marilyn understood. Now, she doesn’t understand anything. Not usually.
Sometimes, she’ll be there. The way she was. She’ll be clear and loud and Marilyn. Other times, though, her eyes go vacant and her face goes slack and she’s just a shell. I’m scared.
She wants to take care of herself, but she can’t. At dinner, she said “I’m going to take a shower tonight.” There was silence. She can’t take showers on her own. “But I want to.” She cried, her voice shaking, her eyes desperate. She hasn’t stopped.
I’ve been through this, four times before. My mum, uncle, and two of my grandparents had cancer. My grandparents died of it. My grandfather, of a brain tumour.
But with Marilyn, it’s different. I know she’s going to die. I knew my grandparents were, too, but I was young. Ten and 12. Now, I’m 18. I have an adult relationship with Marilyn. A life-long one. And soon, it’ll be over. All I’ll have left is memories.
This is also my first death as an atheist. Because I don’t believe in God, in heaven, memories are all I’ll have left of her. I won’t have any sort of knowledge or belief that she’ll be in a better place, watching over me. She’ll just be gone. I’ll never make new memories with her.