FYI: This post is due to the after effects of the book, ‘The Fault in Our Stars‘, so it might be a little emotional and sort of a rant even.
OK, the other post about the book was mostly about the story and the beautiful and lovely quotes from the book. And I couldn’t add my personal effects of it in it for very obvious reasons, yes, the post was already too long even before I completed with it.
I had written this following text in my diary when I was in college or before which sort of aligns with the story. Again I have no clue of its source.
Nothing can make up for the absence of someone whom we love, and it would be wrong to try to find a substitute; we must simply hold out and see it through. That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time, it is a great consolation for the gap, as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bonds between us. It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap he does not fill it, but on the contrary, he keeps it empty and so helps us to keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain.
My friend’s family have lost a few people to cancer, both on her side and her in-laws side. Recently she told me how her sister in law is diagnosed with ovarian cancer and she is in treatment. When I fell sick, she was in her third chemo. I am not sure what happened and how she is now. We went to a book store one day and she wanted to buy something for her sis in law to encourage her because she (sis in law) was totally depressed and has sort of shut down and is having a tough time to explain it to her two girl children (one is much elder and is very scared for her mother and the other very young to understand the seriousness). She asked me for some suggestions on book which might give her courage. Wrong person to ask actually. Because even though I haven’t had any one, god forbid, close to me suffer any terminal illness, I know one thing. Every single person handles the illness in a different way. There simply cannot be a standard way of approaching their depression. And definitely no stranger, i.e myself, can help in any regards. If I know her well enough, I would know what to do about it. We got one book, because my friend wanted to do something. I don’t know how to handle people with such illness. I have once dealt with a person who had depression and some borderline personality issues. But I knew that person for almost a decade and so was able to handle him to some extent. I fear to go to funerals. Because I usually don’t know what to say, unless I know that person well enough. And I really hate the pretentious people there. I experienced it first hand in my uncle (father’s brother’s) death. It is difficult to lose someone, very painful too. So if people pretend that it to be more than it actually is, it gets me in a wrong way. I understand pain, really I do, but I detest faking it to gain sympathy or attention.
So now you know why this book affected me a lot. Because again, God forbid, if I am stuck with some terminal illness, I don’t want people BSing around me. I have had a decent life, fraught with mistakes , regrets , love , hatred everything. I would like to live like Hazel or Gus. I would want to live life like there is no tomorrow (I do that even now). I don’t want any perks. And I know that people cannot know my pain because each pain is unique to its own person. And I would want people to treat me no different, just like I don’t want to be given any special perks for being a woman. I can handle my own along with my family and close friends.
This book also deals with the families of such people and how they have to walk on eggshells to not offend them and yet support them in their own way. I know how difficult it is because again of my friend. My friend keeps talking to the girls to give them her support and to be there for them, when their mother is in treatment in a different city. But not all of them in the family understand the need for empathy. They would rather sympathize, which may not be the right approach always. Since my friend has already lost two people in her family to cancer, she knows how to handle them. She knows what to talk to them. I am glad that she is able to be an anchor to those kids. Not all of them are that lucky.
Even though this book was written in a very encouraging way, nothing too sentimental, nothing too cheesy, no grave jokes, it still got me teary eyed for quite some time after I read it. I don’t cry for fictional books much unless I am too much affected with some similar real life incidents like this. I am so not going to read John Green or any book similar to this for sometime. I think I will stick with some HEA stories and live in an Utopian world for a while, where all is rosy and nice.