Warning, contains spoilers!
The first thing I did when I finished this book was to go on google to find out what the ending was. For those who do not understand the beautiful language of Swedish, the title of this book pretty much means In my body. When Kristian Gidlund was diagnosed with cancer he started writing a blog about what was going on with his body, his mind and a world that is only his. I remember this blog from about a year ago, I also remember that I stopped reading it for the simple reason that my dad was dying, he was also sick and I didn’t have room for another sick person in my life, and the way that Kristian writes, he becomes a part of your life.
I never would have chosen to read this book, it’s not a topic I would like to read about really, however now when it’s done, I might or might not be happy that I read it. I just finished it a few minutes ago so I’m not completely decided yet. So why did I read it? Quite simple actually! The morning paper in my old home town has started a virtual book club, where one of my fellow blogging friends became a resident member. They have set it up so that they have five of those, that got their picture in the paper and all, they make regular commentary each week, however we regular mortals are welcome to comment as well. So, to give me something fun to do, I decided to get the books and read along, making comments if I felt for it. This book was their first pick (so much for the fun).
I picked it up this afternoon, then went to Subway for lunch, sat down with my sandwich, started reading, and then pretty much burst into tears. I finished my sandwich pretty quickly, as well as cancelling the plan of reading the book in the park. I think I needed to do my crying in private as well as I realized that would do a lot of crying while reading.
I went home, I sat down in my kitchen window and I read the first part of the book, and all the time I thought about my dad. I was wondering if the pain that Kristian talked about in relation to his treatments were anything like the pains that my dad had. Was it that bad? Was it that horrible? Why didn’t I ask? Why didn’t I take a bigger interest in how it was for him to be so sick. Kristian talks about a person that he used to be and the person he was now. Was that how dad felt as well? As his decease progresses it feels like my heart is being slowly ripped out of my body, the decline, the weight loss, the lack of appetite, the hopelessness.
I was thinking, as a daughter, as a family member, would I have wanted that my dad wrote about what he was going through with such detail? The answer is no, I wouldn’t want to know. Seeing how painful it was for him was enough, knowing all that went on in his head at that time, I don’t think that I would have been able to handle it. Please note that I’m not passing any judgement on Kristian here, I think that he has shown a great strength in being able to put into words what no one wants to pretend exists, and then not only putting into words but also sharing it with all of us.
Sitting in the burning sun, crying, sweating, drinking cold coffee I reach the point in the book that you wish for, the reason why you keep reading, why you take the pain, why you turn to the next page, and the next pain. You reach the point when he stops writing, when he closes the blog, when the cancer is gone. You smile, you release a breath that you didn’t know that you were holding, then! Then you realize that you have only read half the book! I put the book down then, needing a break, not sure that I was going to pick it back up and read the rest.
At this point he has already crushed one of my illusions. Live today! Live like there is no tomorrow! Live now! If you do that, then the day it’s time to go, you are done and ready. He describes that he did that, then he got sick and then it’s not possible to live in the now anymore, now you have to plan for tomorrow. Then what is the point?
During my break I ate some food, played some Facebook games, watch a couple of Top Chef episodes and went for a long bike ride next to a running Miss T. The damn book was right there, haunting me, calling me. I had to pick it back up. Now it was to cold to sit in the kitchen window, so I moved to my reading chair. Got myself some snacks, and OJ. I opened Spotify for the first time in a long time and found a play list that meant absolutely nothing to me. I didn’t want to read the rest of this book with music that meant something to me in the background, or music that I will hear often. Music and emotions go to well together. I don’t want to hear a song a month from now that will bring me back to this moment and make me sad. After all the preparations were done, I sat down, opened the book and started on part two.I considered while I continued in to the world of Kristians, if it was to early for me to read this book, to close to the loss of my dad. Maybe I feel it so intently because it’s to close to heart. Then I realized that you will never be ready to read a book like this after you lost someone because of a horrible decease that slowly eat at the person you love while all you can do is watch. At least we didn’t have a false start at a new life, a healthy life. Part two, the cancer came back and this time there was no way of beating it, a young man, younger than me, was doomed to death and all he could do was go along for the ride.
The writing is different in part two, in part one there was still hope. Part one was more a description, part two is a farewell aswell as an attempt to a farewell. One of the parts that captured me was the pure explanation as to how you really and properly breaks someones heart.
And to know that you one day – because of a disease that lances and spears – no longer will be there for your family, despite what you promised at the farewell, that, my friends – my sinners and saints – is how you properly break a heart for real.
His family is there all the time, his siblings are a constant support, they seem strong, it might be that he doesn’t want to share all their tears with the world, only his own. The ones that he leaves behind. This book made me wonder, how really suffers the most? The leaver or the left behind? I’m starting to believe that it might be the leaver. I know my dad didn’t want to go, he didn’t want to leave at all, and that is why he stayed for so much longer than the doctors thought he would.
While he is writing this blog, that now became the book, he let his family know what’s going on in his head. I never asked my dad. I also never thought about asking my mum the simple question “how does it feel to lose your dad”. It never crossed my mind until now that she was pretty much the same age as I am now when she lost hers. I think I might have to ask her when I meet her the next time.
Until then, it was nice to google, because as Kristian was thinking about the last new years eve might being his last, I spent the same new years questioning my choice of celebrating it far away from my dad, as it could be his last. My dad passed not that long after, according to google, Kristian is still around.
And after writing this, after processing, I think I’m happy that I read it. Not only did it give me an excuse to cry, it made me think! It made me remember, and what I remember most about death is;
We’ll see each other again in Nangijala