A child’s wish.

Star light, star bright.

The first star I see tonight.

I wish I may, I wish I might,

Have this wish I wish tonight.

I remember this rhyme. It was on a Holly Hobbie type picture on our wall when I was young. Very young. A time when I shared a room with my sisters and when my brothers slept in a bungalow out in the backyard. When my sisters slept in the room with me on bunk beds painted in lurid gloss paint by one of my sisters (it was the 70’s). A room where if I was scared, I could climb into the tiny bunk and be comforted by one of my sisters. Where a huge stuffed teddy bear named “Wozzy” offered me those cuddles in lieu when my sisters were absent. A room where my sometimes hippie flower child sister sat on the floor with an assortment of friends with guitars and music and laughed and talked about what seemed such worldly views to my eyes. Where another sister experimented on herself as well as me with makeup. Where I was read to and learned to read and where we could just be silly as older sister’s indulging a younger sister can be. It was a safe and happy space.

I am not sure who put that rhyme on our bedroom wall. I suspect it was my sister Debra as she was wont to put such things … I do remember looking at it each night and using it as my own silent wish each night before I went to sleep in my own bed, simple childlike wishes, surrounded by family. I took that for granted then as children do. That those you love and rely upon will always be there. There to comfort you, to protect you, to listen to you and to be what family are – your first confidantes and playmates. Your teachers. Your source of unconditional love. Our family was imperfect and dysfunctional, as all real families are, but I would not have had it any other way. We sometimes fought, we often argued. We were loud and large. One thing was never in doubt though – we loved each other. 

 Sisters, Brothers, Mother, Father. So much has changed since that time, but tonight as I lay myself down to sleep, I think of those words and they keep rolling through my head – Now I know for what I would wish … I wish I could rewind time. If not back to my childhood at least back seven years. 

Seven years to when my family was still full. To a time before. Before my family and I knew too much about loss and grief and absolute gut wrenching sorrow. A time of ignorance and oblivion to those things. Being the youngest of a huge tribe has its advantages and its disadvantages. You will forever be called the baby (I am currently a 48 year old “baby”) and considered the “spoiled” one. The one who had a Mum and Dad “broken in” by the older siblings. Definitely not true, I can tell you as the youngest. If anything, Mum and Dad had seen all the tricks and were wiser for it. As we all age though the hardest thing about being the youngest is watching your family members age and in our family’s case decrease in numbers through death … And with that the fear that you will be left alone of those you grew up surrounded by. I am sure that feeling is not unique to large families. Anyone who loves will one day feel loss of loved ones, but since all I know is my own family which is large, my perspective is influenced by my experience. 

My wish tonight can never be. I know that now. I am an adult, mostly rational, who left that childlike belief in the magic of wishes behind. But just for tonight I will say it here and also whisper it to myself before I sleep …I wish I may, I wish I might …


Dear Cancer,

I write this to you in a moment of great sadness, anger, hurt and loss.

Once again you have stolen someone I love.
You steal everything before you eventually steal life. You steal, energy, vitality, appetite, mobility, cognitive function, peace of mind, you steal the very breath from your victims lungs and you inflict unbearable pain and nausea. Then worst of all you steal dignity before you finally steal life. You are one greedy and cruel bastard. You are evil in your randomness. You suck!

It is time for you to piss off Cancer! No more. As my sister so eloquently said “I wish cancer would get cancer and die!”