Side Effects: Act 3 | Here Right Now

I don’t know how to begin her story because I know, and she knows, how it will end. And every time I think about it, I break.

I’ve avoided writing this essay, pushed it to the very edge of my deadline because it hurts too much. It feels like her eulogy even though she is still breathing and smiling and loving on her family in the windswept reaches of southern Idaho.

Elizabeth is going to die. She knows how it’s going to happen. The only question is when.

I know that’s unpleasant. We don’t like talking about death or cancer on their own, and certainly not together. We prefer cancer quiet and unobtrusive, without any visible scars or deformities, an abstraction and a hashtag, with death relegated to an obscure bit player in the wings that can’t upstage life’s final triumphant curtain call.


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