Breathe. Just remember to breathe.
I’ve tried to write this post 50+ times in the last few months. Every time I try I can’t finish it and delete it. My emotions and fears were just too fresh and I couldn’t handle typing the words. But I put this topic on my list to force myself to finish it – so here it goes….. I’m saving the hardest (and closest to home) for last…….
BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys
I’m pretty sure I started crying in this one before I even hit page 25 and continued to be a complete mess through almost the whole thing. Her writing was captivating and beautiful, showing so much hope in the face of absolute horror. But it was the fact that these things actually happened that tore me apart. These events were just unspeakable and yet it actually happened. And no matter how awful it was people still endured. I just can’t imagine. Even thinking about it makes my eyes water.
THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
Following the WWII historical fiction theme, this one was such an emotional roller coaster. I read this one a while before I caught all the hype on blogs and you tube. I went into it not knowing what to expect and almost DNF’d it because I found it hard to get into. Told from the perspective of death was something I had a hard time grasping in the beginning. But as the story went on I found myself so connected to literally every single character. What they endured and the bravery of a young girl only wanting to understand what was happening grabbed my heart. I can’t imagine how hard it would be for someone so strong in her convictions. Knowing that whats happening is wrong but having different views forced down your throat. And that ending….. I was actually sobbing gasping for breath on the couch. Thank goodness my husband wasn’t home because I did NOT want to explain myself!!!
THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett
This one had me crying both happy and sad tears almost the whole way through. This book has inspired me and rooted itself in my heart for many years. The strength and determination of all of the women in this story is just so beautiful!! It was so amazing to see these women overcome their fears and stand up for themselves and what they deserve. And the revenge – sweet, sweet revenge – sprinkled throughout was just so stinking satisfying! It’s rare that I can say that I enjoyed the movie as much as the book but it’s very true in this case. Annnnnnd now I want to reread this one!!
A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness
And here’s where it starts to get hard and personal. This is one that I found out about while watching a you tube video. They didn’t really explain what it was about but they actually started crying while talking about it. For it to invoke so much emotion I had to know what it was about. I read this 2 days before the anniversary of my Papa’s passing – it was both great and horrible timing. See, my Papa was very close to me. He was such a great man and I wanted more than anything for him to meet his great grandson. He wanted a boy and told me while I was pregnant that it was a boy when everyone else said it was a girl. 5 months into my pregnancy he had a heart attack. We got the phone call that he was on ventilators and he wouldn’t make it. So we sat by his side for hours (sorry if there’s spelling mistakes because I’m crying now) and just watched him sleep, listening to the monitors beeping, just waiting to watch his chest rise and fall one last time. In some crazy miracle he kept breathing. A few hours later he opened his eyes. A few hours later he talked. But we knew it was going to be short lived as his organs stopped working. So I sat in a dark hospital room at midnight, helping him drink water through a straw, trying to understand what he was saying, and just holding his hand. Before I went home that night I hugged him and said I love you. He said “I love you too hun” and I left. I went home thinking that I wished he would have just passed because I didn’t want him to suffer any more. I felt so guilty for years thinking this. This book gave me closure and a sense of relief that I never thought would come. That day was the hardest day of my life – but I’m also so grateful that I had that time with him. To tell him I loved him one last time. And for that to be our last words to each other. It’s been almost 8 years and there still isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. Excuse me while I blow my nose and prepare to write about my final book…..
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green
Okay – okay. This one made me cry for a different reason than most people. I myself have been Hazel Grace. Give me a minute to explain. I’ve had thyroid problems since I was about 8 years old. I’m so used to blood tests, scans, ultrasounds, iodine testing, and more. When I was in my early teen years they told me they found a nodule, but they assure me that it was normal. They’re just a growth and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. By the time I hit my 20’s I had 5 nodules, which meant that I needed to keep up with my ultrasounds and blood work to monitor their growth. Last August my worst fears came true. A phone call from the endocrinologist telling me that two of them were now within the guidelines to be biopsied. I knew. I just knew. And sitting across from that doctor with my husband as she told me that I had papillary carcinoma was like an out of body experience. You always think and wonder what you would do when you’re sitting in a doctors office and they tell you that you have cancer – but it’s not even close. I immediately felt doomed and was planning on never seeing my kids get married or have my grand babies. I had surgery to have my thyroid removed in October. The results from pathology confirmed that three of my five nodules were in fact cancerous, two being benign. Luckily, since I was aware of this from the time I was very young, it was caught early and hadn’t spread. If I had waited any longer then the largest one had just reached outside of the protective capsule and was preparing to go throughout my body. After months of constant doctors visits (sometimes being in the hospital 4 days a week), a team of doctors told me in January that I am now CANCER FREE!!! There is still a chance that this could come back, even though my thyroid is now gone, it could have microscopically attached itself to my lymph nodes. But it’s easy to catch through blood work and I would just have to do some specifically targeted radiation and hopefully be cancer free yet again. So now I’m on a hormone replacement for the rest of my life. So I’ve been Hazel Grace – though not to that extent. I was lucky. I am thankful for every day that I have my family, the sunshine and my books. But being in their shoes is the worst thing that I could ever experience. To this day I can’t watch the movie. I just can’t bring myself to do it. it’s too hard.
So there it is. This was much harder than I expected but I made it all the way through. If you take anything from this then here are a few things. Live every moment to it’s fullest. Look at the stars. Feel the sunshine. Say I love you. And if you think something is wrong push to take care of yourself. It may save your life.
Until next time, happy reading