Cancer is one vicious monster. It comes out of absolutely no where and will swallow you hole. Many people may meet the monster, barely surviving the battle. However, some may get another visit and no matter how strong and courageous they are, the monster spews its poison too quickly and with too much force.
Another camper has lost their battle.
The thing with Kristina “Pepperann” Feane is I met her as a survivor. She had already survived the monster and showed up to CGD with energy, long, ruby hair and a smile you could only adore. She was the ideal cancer survivor and camper, always up for anything and everything. She was my camper for five years and then moved to the older group and also became a CIT. Many didn’t know that during her first year at St. John Fisher, her cancer had returned after years of sleep.
I found this out through another camper and one of Pepperann’s friends. She told me about the situation and her awful condition. A few days later, I planned a trip to Niagara Falls to see her. She was in her living room in a hospice bed.
I held her hand and talked to her for forty-five minutes, Corey sitting patiently on the couch. I treated her like I always had – we joked, laughed and I told stories from camp. Still, she wasn’t the same Pepperann. Once and a while she’d clench my hand or push out a smile – those moments being the most beautiful I’ve ever felt.
On Thursday May 3rd, Pepperann passed away. Her mother messaged me and let me know a couple days letter, saying she passed away quietly. There must be a CGD cloud up there where all the campers go to hang out. They probably have a lake with boat rides and an arts and crafts cabin. They most likely do tuck-ins every night and have their own candlelight ceremonies when a friend is hurting down here. I know she is there with the other amazing children who have been bit by this monster. However, those children have more courage than ever imagined. I look up to them every single day.
I lay so still on my soft bed
Hair falling out onto my sheets.
I feel no curls atop my head,
But I know that my heart still beats.
Breathing in and breathing out
I push those angel hands away—
Don’t need them flying all about;
I will survive another day.
My heart still pulses in my chest
And even though I may feel weak,
I know I’m stronger than the rest
Even if I cannot speak.
I need no angel hands nearby—
My strength’s enough to make me fly.