I write this with tears in my eyes, love in my heart and fear in my soul. Dearest Ava, what an amazing impact you've had on our lives, for me you have replaced a glass of wine after a long hard day, you are my happy place, you take me to so many wonderful places when we play and your love for me is unconditional, you look at me through innocent eyes and see things in me that no one else ever would.
Tonight we were talking about scan results and didn't even realise Ava was listening and once again she asked "are you still sick Lisa?", she's been asking this question a lot lately, are you all better Lisa? Such innocence in her voice when she asks me these questions, innocence in her face, innocence in her heart, I sometimes wonder does she know? I mean really know, does she know that one day Aunty Lisa won't be there to play super girl and spider man, one day we won't be able to retreat to our secret hideout together and dance to our own beat in front of the mirror and I won't be there to be her best friend for the day, because as we all know these kids are fickle as fuck, one day I'm her bff and the next day it's Nanna, but one day I won't even be in the running, do you know that Ava?
Ava you will be three on Sunday, a day I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be here for, but had always hoped I would be, I've always said I want to see her go to big school (kindergarten in Australia), I want to be there at her first day of school, watch her get excited weeks before school starts wanting to try on her uniform and model it for me, showing me her new school bag and lunch box, her pencil case filled with pencils that will create amazing stories of monsters and princesses and drawings of mum, dad and her puppy Trixie. Oh I can only imagine what those pencils will create, I want to stick one of her creations on my fridge and show her amazingness off to everyone who graces my kitchen.
Ava you're the closest thing to a cure for cancer that I've come across, you pick us up when we're falling into the cancerous chasm, you have this innate sense that I've never seen in any other child, but I'm probably a little bias, all you have to do is look into my eyes or hear a different tone in my voice and you know I'm not well today, you have a warm and caring heart that reaches far beyond any other human being I've ever known. Ava you are a star that shines that little brighter than all the others, you were brought into this world eight days before I found out my cancer was back and I was dying, you've never known any different, you've only ever known sick Lisa.
I want you to know that sick Lisa has tried her best to be as active an Aunty as possible, even with her limitations. The "healthy" Lisa would have climbed that tree with you, she would have picked you up and flown you around the room with your arms outstretched like the super hero you are, she would have wrestled, boy would she have wrestled, she would have rolled around on the floor for hours putting you in pretend choke holds and letting you beat her, healthy Lisa would have done so many fun things with you, the type of things that Mum and Dads don't want you to do, but for now you have "sick" Lisa and believe me Ava, sick Lisa tries so hard to pretend to be "healthy" Lisa.
Those secret times that I do pick you up, when the pick up patrol aren't watching, they hurt, I try not to let you see that when I'm carrying a pretend injured Ava to a pretend Ambulance, that my tumours are pulling and stretching with every step, I try and hide that from you, it's not just because I don't want you to miss out, it's because I don't want to miss out also. While other people are giving you pretend horsie rides on their back, I'm watching and with every fake gallop and pretend neigh, my heart is breaking inside knowing that I can't just get on the floor and horse around with you also.
Ava we've been given so much more than we ever thought we would get, but we've also had so much stolen from us. This cancer cloud that hangs over us everyday threatening to rain on our parade is so unfair, every night when you give me my kiss and hug goodbye, I can't help but think, "Will this be the last, the last kiss, the last hug, the last time we sing the wrong words to Let it Go together?".
I am sick Ava, I am really sick, but for some reason, some higher power is keeping me around, keeping me in pain, keeping me in fear and keeping me in your arms Ava, all the bad stuff, all the pain and suffering is worth it, if I can continue to be bossed around by you and maybe be the chosen one today, the one you call your best friend.
Stay fabulous rockstars ❤️🤘🏼
My name is Lisa Magill and I have been navigating the minefield that is cancer since just months after turning 30, people have been saying to me for years that I should put my thoughts into writing and as time has progressed I thought I had left it too late, well here we are nearly 4 years in and for some unknown reason I've decided to start to write today.