An Open Letter to Cancer

Dear Cancer,

I never wanted to talk to you. In fact, if possible I never want to hear your name ever again. Not in the campaign for awareness, not from the mouths of my relatives and friends, not from that MCR song that Twenty One Pilots covered, not even from myself.

Yet I write to you because you flipped my whole life upside. You took away someone I loved so much that even now as I am penning this letter to you I can see her smile between my eyelids. I still and perhaps will forever miss her because she missed so much of my moments. Three years ago, you possessed her in the ghostly form of “Third stage nose cancer,” and somehow every exorcism we tried couldn’t get rid of this poltergeist. You created havoc in the holy temples of my mother, numbed her soul with the fruits of medicine, and slowly she morphed into someone we couldn’t recognize.

The hands that once guided me now needed guidance to the lavatory. The mouth that used to sprout wisdom to me now needed help handing offerings and sacrifices to her slowly abandoned sanctuary. And on that day when her eyes could no longer see light, I guiltily admitted that I felt relieved both for her and me because you no longer can torment her from the inside while we were lifted of the heavy weight we could not carry.

Cancer, you bring out the best and the worst of people. I find it scary that I wish she was gone because I cannot afford to see her fight a losing battle and slowly crumble and deteriorate into a broken shadow of what she used to be. Yet because of you, I have learned to appreciate every waking moment with her. I didn’t want any memories of her tainted with regrets and sorrow. I don’t remember our last conversation, but I remember when you took her into your sickly embrace. 8.00 a.m, the 23rd of July, 2015. The funeral was a blur, a whirlwind of people and condolences I didn’t need but I had to endure. Now as I write to you, I can see the tears of her sisters, the tears of her mother, mingled amongst the rest of the memories I do not want to recall.

So, Cancer, I write to you because I fear that someday you might inhibit my body too. I have seen you take my mother, now my aunt. You slithered like a serpent from the breast to the ovaries of my aunts, and I am so afraid. I do not know how to end this letter, so I will just bade you goodbye, for now.

Yours truly,

Kira, a girl you have changed.




submissionKira is a 17-year-old girl who loves to write and has a serious obsession with cats. She wishes to live by the sea someday.


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