Not Having Brain Cancer Isn’t The Same As Being Happy

{Original post by Kelly of Ordinary Art}

In pre-school, my daughter is learning about opposites. Up. Down. Right. Wrong. Full. Empty. Everything neat and tidy. The teacher sends home a note. Practice. Teaching the concept of opposites is a great way for your child to understand his or her world.


My mother has a friend who is wheel chair bound and dying of brain cancer. This sick woman has a 10-year-old daughter. The daughter does not understand why God is robbing her mother of her legs and her life. All she wants is for her mother to rise from that chair and go for a walk. What is the direct opposite of wanting?

Is life the direct opposite of death? We have to be grateful for what we have. My own mother moralizes. Her idea of happiness is not having brain cancer. I’m not sure it takes fully into account the grief of a 10-year old girl.

A former student of mine once wrote a beautiful poem. It went,

We are a matched set, you and I. A fork in the road. A knife in my heart.

She read the poem aloud to the class. She tossed her hair and laughed when someone in the back of the room raised their hand and asked about the spoon. I counted her poet teeth and hoped that someday, someone would come along and fall in love with the religion of her mouth. She was 13 and beautiful. I cannot remember her name. Forgetting is not the same thing as letting go.

I practice with my daughter. Hot. Cold. Big. Small. Love. Hate. Sad. Happy. These words never tell the entire story. Sometimes mothers die and leave their daughters to go for walks alone. Sometimes mothers live but their daughters still feel lonely.

Everything in life is just standing still, waiting to become a poem. I want to be beautiful and toss back my hair. I have a daughter. I want to laugh at the irrelevance of spoons. I know that grieving 10-year old girls exist. I am not their opposite.

Featured by Story Editor Shannon | @MrLady

Since 2006, Kelly has written circles around almost everyone I’ve ever met at Ordinary Art, where her original post can be found.
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9 Comments to “Not Having Brain Cancer Isn’t The Same As Being Happy”

  1. Moving. Powerful. I loved reading this.
    Elizabeth @claritychaos recently posted..revisiting

  2. Kelly says:

    Honored to be here. Thanks.

  3. Mr Lady says:

    And then I died from the agonizing sort of beauty of it all. From @ordinaryart, today on @StoryBleed

  4. RT @mrlady And then I died from the agonizing sort of beauty of it all. From @ordinaryart on @StoryBleed

  5. Simone says:

    I sometimesonceinawhileoften wish my mother had died when I was young. I would rather grieve for the loss of what could have been than live with the is….and what has come before. Actually it’s as if she is dead now but a ghost that still haunts me now and then when I see a name in passing on a social media site or hear someone else ask about her. I want to tell them she is dead so I no longer have to hear them ask, so she can finally not be a part of my world, my consciousness. I try to tell people that I am who I am because of who she was and what she did to me, but secretly I know I would have been far more amazing and far less anxious and scared if I had not been systematically abused for so many years. Family is family if you are in a family where that is the case. Why is it good and loving mothers who die? Why do the awful and pain-causing cancers of the world stay around to inflict their need on anyone who will listen? To con an unsuspecting human with a sob story they haven’t heard before. Or maybe, just once, I would like to see the headline, “Child Beating Mother Hit By Bus. Karma Pays Off.” on the morning paper. Just to know someone is dead that should be instead of another kind and loving woman taking her place in the ground.

    I know that what I am writing is not nearly as beautiful or insightful as the original poster, so please don’t think I’m trying to one-up the original post. I was just thinking aloud. Thanks for taking the time to read my feelings.

  6. Evangeline says:

    This was a great piece. I’m the girl without the mother since the age of 12. I never knew that people with mothers got lonely even if their mom’s still existed.

    Simone- I am fortunate enough to say that my mother was “one of the good ones”. Even all these years later, I still wish a bad person could have taken her place. I know someone just like you who wishes their mother gone, pretends it is so. And both of our situations are…just sad.

  7. Not Having Brain Cancer Isn’t The Same As Being Happy | Story Bleed Magazine

  8. Just. Wow.
    Mishelle Lane recently posted..Weekly Winners Our Staycation