So, I was on Twitter the other day and noticed that #alicebucketlist was trending. I was curious, so I clicked on it, and found this blog.
Alice is a 15-year-old cancer patient. She recently learned it was terminal and began her blog to track what's left of her life. Do as much as she can on her bucket list (and dream about the ones she can no longer achieve), and let the world share each step of the journey with her. One of the items on Alice's bucket list is to get everyone to be a bone marrow donor (I became one last year; wrote a blog about it for CURE). Another was to be trend on twitter (hence the #alicebucketlist).
The concept is kind of sad. But it's also inspiring. And... kind of hopeful.
Reading through Alice's blog reminded me of Alicia Parlette (who I also wrote a blog about for CURE). A lot of the same thoughts and emotions swirled through me, so I thought I'd share a little bit of it here (to read the whole thing, click on the link above):
I've spent the last couple of days reading "Alicia's Story" online, subtitled "Cancer. Despair. Hope. Faith," and through her honest vulnerability, I found myself feeling like I was in her shoes and oscillating between despair, hope, and faith. ...
... throughout the series, Parlette often made references to God and her faith. Faith in the belief, which she and her friends and family held on to, that she was a miracle--even if she didn't live. Faith that provided a constant uplifting through the prayers being said for her. Faith to lean on God, and somehow understand why this was happening to her; how it didn't feel right for her to pray that she would be healed--even though that was what she really wanted. Faith that broke through as Parlette, emerging from a dark tunnel on a BART ride, thought about how trials are "uncomfortable and scary and dark and overwhelming--but then they're through and things go back to (almost) normal, and God's showing himself on the other side."
And these are just a smattering of examples of Parlette's despair, hope, and faith expressed in her story.
If I'm going to be honest, reading "Alicia's Story" mostly struck a lot of fear in me. I'm 24, and while I don't have cancer, it was really hard for me to think about Parlette being diagnosed at 23 and dying at 28. It was also scary to think about her misdiagnosis at 16,and how, at 17, I had a procedure to rule out the possibility of cancer ... and what if that was wrong, too?
At one point, Parlette's therapist told her something that really stood out to me: While most people focus on the outcome, it's more important to focus on the process. None of us know where our lives will lead us, or what will happen in them. But it's in noticing the moments in between that help hope and faith keep from being overrun by despair.
Even though their stories make me sad and a little bit scared, Alice and Alicia both remind me of one thing:
We really do only have one life... so why not live it the best we can?