[disclaimer: if you are depressed, or dealing with a loved one's death, do not read this post]
We walk upon this earth as nobody trying to be somebody; as if the stars are our own spotlight. No amount of sun can dry our human condition of raindrops. No amount of rain can clean our human curse of given sin. We remain mortal even upon death. The living pray for the dying. The dead are beyond praying for the world is far gone. Nobody is everybody. We die as we are born. We are a thin thread within a cosmic fabric, a creative masterpiece floating within the stills of our mind’s eye. (amf, 2012)
This is not so much a commentary about death or depression, as it is about John Green’s latest book, The Fault In Our Stars. This book is not my normal type of genre. I generally stay away from mainstream fiction unless it is an indie press or a classic, but I had a personal reason to read this one.
This book IS about dying; no, scratch that, it is about cancer. Cancer, a disease that needs us as host. Once it has invited itself to a party of mass consumption of our bodily good, it may take a cocktail of death to stop the killing. Green’s young characters, Hazel Grace and Augustus understand this sad irony.
A piece of me fell away after I closed the last page today. John Green took me back to the ICU. He took me back to that call you receive at 6AM when your body feels electric after the sound of the mobile. The sick feeling that wells up inside you right before you enter a sliding glass door, willing yourself a smile; and wishing bright words to fall upon your lips so that you can fill his lips with a smile. There is no regret worse than the regret of being the living when sharing with the dying.
John Green reminds us that we shall all perish someday. Some of us shall be granted a longer thread; some only a short string. What I’ve learned, as he so aptly explains, is that we cannot only live for cloudless days. Each breath spins a piece of poetry wound into a fabric so complex there is no transparency.
There is no way for me to detail the book without spoiling; so I shall just end this with one thought: there are no regrets when you follow your stars, even if that means walking a path that you know dead ends. We must follow it; follow it to the end, for we never know the beautiful vistas unless we explore.
[sidebar: The Fault In Our Stars is a teen book, but it isn't just for teens. A complaint is that Hazel Grace and Augustus didn't talk like teens. I say, of course not, you wouldn't either if you had been told you are terminal. Actually, it is my hope that teens will read this and remember that love knows no time limit, nor boundary. People with cancer, especially youth, need our hugs more than our silence.]