Coping with the change: Life after cancer

It’s been almost two months since my cousin, Krista, passed away. For those of you who do not know her, her name was Krista Hong, and she was 19 when she passed. Krista battled Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, cancer in her lymph nodes, for almost a year. She passed away January 22, 2005 while undergoing a research treatment in Virginia, USA.

Things are not the same anymore. Many people still ask about her, and at times I still get upset. It’s almost like losing half of a breath each time I breathe when I think or speak of her, it still stings. But then other times I could be perfectly fine and carry on the conversation. It really depends on the day, sometimes you will have emotional days where you just want to burst and others you’re stronger than ever.

Each day is different in its own way, while being a little easier at the same time. I often find myself looking through old pictures from Christmas and birthdays when we were younger, as well as recent pictures. Reading the articles she wrote herself is something I find myself doing. I read them over and over again trying to imagine the things that she was thinking. Sometime it’s almost like reading them makes her come back, others it seems like this was all made up and that it never happened. Having little reminders around such as pictures of her or little things she owned makes it feel like she’s here with me.

I speak with her every night before I go to sleep, letting her know the day’s events, how I’m feeling, or all of the changes that are going on, there are a lot of them. I like to let her know about the positive things that are going on in my life right now too, she loved to hear those. I really believe in life after death, spirits and angels, so I know that she is definitely one.

Sometimes it’s as if her illness never happened. Even though she was sick for quite some time, it all happened very fast, and it’s almost like it was a dream. It feels like I could go to her house now and she would be there on the couch watching TV as always, haha, and not sick. It still really doesn’t seem real.

On a positive note, Krista left us all with many lessons and messages. Things to value such as family, friends, and life. To live life to its fullest and enjoy everything you do. Never give up when things are down, and most importantly think and be positive and optimistic you never know the way things can go.

“You’re in the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here.” – Sarah McLachlan

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