You have just been told that you have been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma at age 59. Your white blood cells are multiplying out of control, each taking on the identity of a cancer cell. This could not be happening to you. Your whole life you have lived in style, and done everything with extreme class and exaggerated grace. You host decadent dinner parties and lavish luncheons weekly, and your list of “connections” spans ten pages. You are a naturally born socialite of the suburban world. This new ailment was not in your planner. It slipped into the pages just like your friend’s daughter’s shotgun wedding that you just had to make an appearance at. Numbly, you stare at the doctor, you open your planner, you jot down words you don’t remember, you fix your hair with your fingers even though you spent a whole hour on it already this very morning. The doctor says you have a month to live. You continue writing in your planner, how will you fit all of this in? The doctor says call if you need anything. And you jot down “call doctor” in Thursday’s block, right underneath “drop off dress to be hemmed”. You leave, your pen dry.
Back at home, you begin to prepare dinner for an old friend visiting later this evening. Your knife slices through the carrots again and again and again. Tears land on the carrots, and you clench the handle of the knife even tighter. This wasn’t the plan; you still have so much to do. You put down the knife and race over to your planner and put a line through the remainder of the month. You pen in, “plan funeral.” All of the sudden your planner becomes more filled than ever. Call florist, pick out casket, create guest list, schedule jazz ensemble, find priest, choose caterer, pick out outfit, write will. You gather that you have about two weeks of productive time, this could be done. Your last hurrah, your final appearance in society. This has to be perfect.
Two weeks later, nearly all of the items are crossed out of your planner. It was a long two weeks, but it was worth the toil. It took your mind off everything anyways. There was one item still remaining, “write a will”. You have been avoiding this one in particular, the words were daunting, just like the task at hand. Who do you include in your will, the seamstress? She was always nice to you, and said you looked slim in your new dress. The driver? He doesn’t speak English but always gives you a warm smile. Your so called friends? They only show up for your lavish parties, but they would surely pull through in tough times if you ever asked them to. Your cat? Mr. Jello is your closest confidant, even though he never gave his input and refused all efforts to cuddle. You sat in front of the piece of paper, tapping your pen on the table. The line is so empty, there is so much room for so many people that you don’t have. You put your pen to the paper and quickly write, in delicate and decisive cursive, “I leave everything to Mr. Jello.”