Around Life's Sonnets

One year, that's what the doctor told me...
What would you do if you only had 365 more days to live?


1. January: 365 Days To Go


--- Chapter 1 --- January: 365 Days To Go ---


Long nights, naked trees and frosted leaves, sparkling lights and the smell of disinfectant.

I've been in this hospital all winter, doing tests after tests without no explanation of what's wrong with me. Until yesterday... The doctor came in to my room, holding the fact sheets in his hands, the paper with the answers, my diagnose. He looked down on me, with pity in his eyes. Mom and dad were sitting next to me by the bed, mom grabbed my hand and I knew that the doctor didn't came to tell us any good news. He started babbling words I did not understand.

ALS; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lo Gehrig's Disease... That was my curse. Apparently it damages motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, they shrink and disappear, so that the muscles no longer receive signals and will become smaller and weaker until they will no longer work and you will get paralyzed, and die. I froze when I heard it, I couldn't move, my mom were crying and my dad was trying really hard to keep a straight face so he could speak with the doctor. So this was it... Everything from this moment forward would change and nothing would be the same. The doctor looked at me again, as if he had even more bad news to tell me. Like this wasn't enough. The disease was at a bad state and if I was lucky I had one more year to live. Even if my muscles weren't so weak at the moment the process would go fast, until the day when I would not be able to walk anymore, or move at all, or eat, speak and eventually breathe. A disease with no way to prevent it or cure.

One year left.

365 days. 


After a few weeks I got discharge from the hospital and in the car on our way home nobody spoke a word. What was there to say?  I went to my room and sat on my bed for several hours, just thinking. Now what? How should I spend the last few months of my life, like nothing was wrong? Or should I find that bucket list I wrote years ago, the one I wrote just for fun. How strange that a bucket list for my long normal life turned into a list were I won't be able to achieve even half of it. But I could do my best. I could drop off school, drop everything and at least try.

When I came out to the living room again mom and dad were sitting on the couch, I could see that they have had a serious discussion, probably about me, and I could see that both of them had been crying. I went and sat between them, they put their arms around me and said:

"Mei, we have decided that you can do whatever you want to this year, you're 18 years old so it's up to you. What do you want to do?"

"Mom, dad... I want to travel, see things and experience things I've never done before. But most of all, I want to go back to my motherland and find my biological parents. I know that they are dead, but I want to see where I was born and visit their graves before... before I die."

Mom and dad nodded and hugged me for a really long time. 


The next day I started packing, I was in fact in a hurry. Chasing the time of my own death, and every day my lifespan got shorter and shorter. I made up a plan, the first two months away I would visit different countries, the next and last stop would be China for at least one month. China, my motherland. The cause of the empty hole in my chest which I was now ready to fill, now more than ever.

It was the end of January and I was ready to leave America. All the savings for college, wedding and car was now on my credit card in my bag. Mom hugged me tight, crying on my shoulder and didn't want to let go of me, dad kissed me on the forehead and ruffled my hair like he always do. I wouldn't see them for several months and none of us knew what state I would be in when I got home again. 

This was the beginning of my life's journey.

But it was also the end. 


--- Chapter 1 --- January: 365 Days To Go ---

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