What he did was brave

“Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.”

-Emma Donoghue, author of ROOM

In the novel (and film) Room, maybe Ma and Jack wished they could float away in a balloon through the door when Old Nick opened it, or (magically) through the small skylight.

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I’m currently reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It was on my to-be-read stack for a long time, and now I can’t put it down. But at the same time, I don’t want it to end; it’s already in the category of books that I love, and will remember. (Room is still on my to-be-read stack, but I’ve seen the movie). One of the many lines in The Book Thief that has touched me is, “But then, is there cowardice in the acknowledgement of fear?”

No, there isn’t.

In the spring of 2012, my Jack was a junior in college, and he was undergoing an MRI – a brain scan – every 3 months. Before then, it was every 2 months; later on, it was every 4-6 months. Now he is down to once a year.

Almost every spring, my family and I attended the Relay for Life event at UGA with Jack. Early in the evening at one of them, someone gave each of us a balloon and a Sharpie. We were about to release them into the sky, to float away. But first, we were to write something on them that we wanted to let go.

It took me two seconds to decide what to write on mine.

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I don’t remember what others wrote on their balloons. But as I watched mine float up and disappear, I hoped and prayed I could stop feeling scared. I was so worried about Jack, and afraid his next MRI wouldn’t be clean, and that his illness would come back.

When he was fighting cancer, Jack told me that he felt scared. But what he did was brave.

Read his story, in my book ALL THE ABOVE.

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