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The Last Two Weeks of The Rest of My Life
“You have two weeks to live. I am very sorry. There is nothing left I can do.”
I said nothing. It was as though fear and grief were constricting my throat, rendering me incapable of speech. I should’ve cried. That would’ve been the appropriate reaction. But the tears would not come. It was one of those rare moments when you were so stricken with grief that you couldn’t cry. So this was how I was to die: hairless and sick. When I had pictured the day I was going to die, I always imagined myself going to sleep after the most glorious day of myself, lined with old age, and falling into a peaceful doze. I would awake with angels surrounding me, humming in my ears. I did not picture myself at age 13, waiting for my heart to stop, while my family sobbed at my side. I had first been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three years ago. And since then, I have been treated with both radiation and chemotherapy, neither having much affect. And now the battle was lost…
I sat in my room staring at all the medals and trophies I’d received in my swimming career. I had always loved the water. How much I was going to miss the water. I stared too at all of the band posters pinned on my wall. I had been to every one of their concerts; the songs were still echoing in my heads, and then I grabbed my favorite family portrait that I had drawn in sixth grade. It was so accurate that even I was surprised how much. There was mom, smiling as she so often did. And dad, with that permanently surprised look about him. And my older sister Lola, who always got along with me. We shared a special bond unlike the normal brother or sister. Grandpa and Grandma were at the side, smiling at me with their warm gazes. Grandpa had died of a stroke, and for a while, Grandma was stricken with grief, though she never admitted to it. She would always say
“My years on this Earth are numbered, and if I spend them feeling sorry for myself, my 80 other wonderful years will have meant nothing. If I know I’ve lived life to its fullest, then that’s all that really matters.”
At the thought of these words, a strange realization entered my mind. Grandma was right. I had two weeks, 14 days, left on this Earth, and was I going to sit up here in my room sulking the whole time? Of course not! There were so many things on this Earth that I wanted to do. Rushing over to my desk, I pulled out a pen and a pad of paper.
Things to do before I die:
Go and see a Red Sox game at Fenway Park.
Meet Michael Phelps.
Watch the sun set over the Rockies
How foolishly close this list resembled a shopping list or something. But I didn’t care. I took the list with me downstairs and into the kitchen. Mom was sitting downstairs in the kitchen drinking tea, and looking through old photo albums. Her eyes were red and puffy. She said nothing. For a while we just stared at each other, then I handed her the list. She took it giving me a curious look, and then she looked at the list. A couple of seconds later she looked up, her eyes glistening. I gave her a small smile which she returned, and gave me a small nod.
The two weeks that followed were the best of my life. I have accomplished 4 out of 5 of the things on my list.
I did go to Fenway Park. I caught a home run ball, and was featured on television for it. That home run gave the Red Sox the win. I enjoyed my final hot dog at that game, savoring the taste and reflecting on the night’s events.
I did meet Michael Phelps, who had received letters from mom and dad, begging him to come. We met at the pool where I used to practice, and talked for hours, neither of us growing tired. And then, at the end of another perfect day, I received a cap signed by Michael Phelps himself. It said: “Never let go of your dreams, no matter how far they are away.”
I did see Paris. Mom and Dad got us all tickets to France. We stayed at the L’hotel du Paris, a gorgeous hotel, noted for its elegant décor and incomparable grandeur. We ate our lunches under the Eiffel Tower and spent our time strolling through the city, visiting Le Parc de la Vilette, the Louvre museum, and Champs-Elysees. They say Paris is the most beautiful city in the world, but that is an understatement. There is not a single adjective in the English language that could describe the beauty of Paris.
I did try escargot. And it was absolutely disgusting.
And now my family and I are heading to Colorado, to watch the sun set behind the Rockies. This is the 14th day. We have just arrived on an empty field in Colorado Springs. We laid out blankets on the soft grass and talked until the sky started to turn pink. It was majestic: an array of pink and gold, stretching endlessly across the sky. I had seen hundreds of sunsets come and go in the last 13 years, but none like this one. It was a breathtaking sight, and as the sun sunk, I could feel my life going with it. It was as if the sun itself was taking more and more breath from me. And as the last sliver of sunlight slipped away behind the mountains, I closed my eyes and smiled. It had been the best two weeks of my life, and now, as the sun drifted behind Pikes Peak, and my heart stopped, I fell into that calm, peaceful sleep, where I would soon be awakened by the sounds of hundreds of angels singing softly in my ear. I had lived the last two weeks of my life, truly lived. And, like Grandma always said, that’s all that truly matters.
(This story was written by this boy’s mother in perspective of his life, experiences, to his last two weeks, to his death.).