Content Notice: This story contains references to eating disorder, death.
What are your most vivid childhood memories? The ones that stick for the rest of your life? Perhaps they helped define or shape you. Was it that first sleepover camp? Learning to ride a bike, how to swim? A birthday party? A vacation? So often these memories are full of comfort and nostalgia. We seem to forget about skinned knees, fights with friends, even parents divorcing— as if children are immune to pain. They’re not. I was not.
My most vivid childhood memory is May 15th, 1997. It was a chilly spring day in Chicagoland. The sky was painted an abstract portrait of grays, whites, and yellow, a portrait to match the mood inside the Wood house. The home where glorious memories were once made had now looked like a makeshift hospice center. My dad, my hero, lay in a hospital bed drifting in and out of consciousness. Cancer ravaged his body much like this event would eat away at me for years to come.