A memory of my sister wouldn’t leave me on the ride home today. I cried when I thought of it. It was one of those long days in the hospital and Kassidy was constipated. She had been for a week. Her belly swelled and her pain increased and my family’s tension and exhaustion increased with it. “Please God, let her go a little,” I mouthed as I pushed open the bathroom door.
Like an idiot I forgot to shield her eyes from the mirror. When last she had seen herself her hair was long and her face slender. When she caught sight of herself just then her head was completely hairless. It dipped low on the right side where a port had been surgically inserted into her brain. This freakish indentation was crusty with blood and pus. Her face was swollen and lumpy from the prednisone. She trembled for a moment, trying to be brave, then buried her head in my shoulder and sobbed long and low. I was 15.
Kassidy could have been spared her reflection but it’s time I took a hard look at mine.
After I cry I’ll laugh again. That’s just how it goes. And it’s good and healthy too. I know that now. I wish I would have known it then.