Love in the Time of Cancer

Modern Family

Love in the Time of Cancer

Illustration: Akshita Monga


here are two phases in my life that will forever remain lucid. The first dates back to about 20 years ago, when I was about five. My younger siblings hadn’t yet come along, so it was mostly my mother and I. We’d spend our time writing letters to Disney to suggest alternative plotlines for the Little Mermaid, and to Santa to ask for a miniature house so my doll and bear could finally move in together. I wrote to newspapers and magazines about my thoughts, which even as a five-year-old, I was told should be expressed. It was a house full of postcards, books, music and crayons.

Of the patches of memory that shine through remembrance, that part of my life is perennially lucent. The other, under exactly opposite circumstances, is the part where my mother was diagnosed with cancer.