A year ago my cousin was diagnosed with cancer. The day that Victoria relented and finally agreed to let her dad shave her head was when things got real.
She had just started feeling the effects of chemo and knew the treatment was going to take her hair— so she decided to beat it to the punch. She put on a brave face but when the buzzer hit her head, we both broke down sobbing. No amount of mental preparation could have readied us to see her health scattered in piles on the floor.
When it was over, Victoria hesitantly touched her newly naked head and asked her dad how she looked. He paused for a moment, then he laid it on straight: “you look like a boy.” The situation was tense, reality sucked, but my cousin and I both burst out laughing. Uncle Ken’s response was just so him: comically blunt and unapologetically honest.
From that night on, we learned that we had a choice. We could either stomp our feet and sulk at the unfairness of the world. Or we could focus on the things we did have: family, friends, our strength of will, and a sense of humor.
“You can’t change the cards you’re dealt, just how you play the hand.”
We chose the latter. A year later, with chemo and surgeries behind, Victoria and my family decided to celebrate. We made a decision to face our fears and to live in the now. And what better way to commemorate life than by jumping off a cliff?