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The Child Thief

The Child Thief

– Nonfiction by Wendy Richards –

First Place in the 2024 Dreamers Micro Nonfiction Contest and featured in issue 17 of Dreamers Magazine

Homemade Insanity

At 38, melanoma attacked our son’s healthy, athletic body. Moving closer to his dream of a hobby farm, Alex would need sunglasses for his bright future! We had been pacified into believing surgery had won the battle. Check-ups proved cancer had stopped in its tracks – we could cease holding our breath.

But cancer cheats. Melanoma had been toying with Alex and regrouped in its deadly game. In August of 2022, the cured melanoma metastasized into Stage 4 lung cancer.

Our family rallied in preparation for battle — determined to finish off this insidious disease. Clawing its way through his body, it metastasized again and set its sights on brain cancer, turning it into a labyrinth he could no longer navigate. Forgetfulness, muscle and speech loss, and headaches made it impossible for Alex to understand why he couldn’t go home. As your heart breaks, the prognosis of years is reduced to days. My steely husband is reduced to tears.

Everything had been thrown at this assassin: neurosurgeons, oncologists, radiologists, immunotherapy, radiation, chemotherapy, and lastly, prayers. Alex died in November of 2022. We lost our son, but he lost his dreams.

Diabolical cancer is a thief and cruel inquisitor. It savours the agony as it twists the knife. Unrelenting pain of losing a child waits in the silence. You shop to make yourself feel better or coffee with friends, but eventually you return home. Opening the door, the Specter of Death awaits, greeting you with its black, dead eyes. You experience the longing and horror of despair – unbearable and exhausting. You turn on music or television, hoping to diminish your thoughts before you go mad. You can’t do this anymore!

I see a MiniCooper with “F*ck cancer” displayed on its rear window. I am not the only one battling demons. We are the remains of the day.

About the Author – Wendy Richards

Wendy, the daughter of a nomadic helicopter pilot, was destined for a life of wanderlust. Her childhood saw her chasing sheep in New Zealand, making a quick getaway from polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba, and surviving to share her foolhardy adventures of a life without bubble wrap.
Now playing Life’s Back Nine, Wendy relishes debunking the myths of aging, becoming a college student, travel advisor, writer, author, and entrepreneur after her 50th birthday. She is now a full-time freelance writer, contributing to online publications and publishing her first non-fiction novel in the coming months. She and her husband currently live in sun-drenched Southern Alberta.

Meanwhile, at Dreamers…