“I can’t believe we have less than six weeks to go before summer break.”
Chandra says one day in early April. Winter has given way to spring, and everyone is
talking about prom again. In two weeks the Junior and Senior classes will be having
there prom, but this is not a reason to celebrate not for me anyway.
“I know and we will be done with our Junior year, I worried that I may not be
able to keep up with the classes after the accident, after spending so much time in the
hospital. I even missed Christmas.”
“I know but thank God you are here I could not imagine life without my best
“I know the feeling well Chandra, I was afraid that the doctors were going to tell
you that your cancer was back.”
“I was scared too, but the Lord was with me just as he is with you.”
Winter has given way to spring, and sweatshirts, and heavy pantsuits have given
way to t-shirts and jeans. In Northern California though even the spring is unpredictable,
when Chandra and I were ten and Chandra had been diagnosed with Leukemia it had
been warm all winter, and spring had brought way to two months of wet, soggy weather.
This year was different though, spring had started with temperatures in the high seventies
and low eighties, although the lows could go as low as thirty degree’s another typical
northern California trait.
It was nice to feel the warmth of the sun stinging my cheeks, because I was not
sure while I was in the hospital that I would ever make it out of the hospital to feel the
warm spring weather again. I was afraid I was going to die, but the Lord had spared me
for a reason and I was thankful to be here, chair or no.
“What are you doing for Easter?” Chandra asks, waking me from my thoughts.
“We’ll go to church I am sure.” I told Chandra. “Beyond that I don’t know.” I
told her remembering how Mom and I always did something special for Easter before,
sometimes it involved getting on a train and just going somewhere we hadn’t been before,
other times it was planned, and she would take me to places like Disneyland. When
Grandma was alive it always involved either us going to see Grandma or Grandma
coming to see us, and as a little girl Chandra use to come over, and Grandma would hide
Easter Eggs for us, sometimes it was the plastic one’s and she would put quarters, dimes
and nickels, even dollar bills in them. We always loved those Easter egg hunts.
“It’s going to be a lot different this year.” I told Chandra. “That much I know.”
“That doesn’t change what Easter is about though.”
I wondered for a minute how we had gone from talking about summer break
approaching to Easter. Our mind was going in a million different directions, and I
wondered how we would focus when it came time for the upcoming tests we were to
have, tests that we had every year, but I hated tests, I always got nervous when it was
time for tests, and now I would have to have all that extra help and some of the students
may get envious, although I would rather not need the help. I would rather be able to
hold a pencil and write the answers for myself.
Lord I’ve been thinking negatively two much, please give me the strength to look
at the positive side of things, help me to be more like Job who praised you after he lost
his family, or like David who with you had the courage to slay the giant, or like Moses
who spent forty years in the desert. They were all brave Lord, even facing death they
were brave Lord, and help me know that kind of bravery. I know I should be focusing on
the sacrifice you gave us with Easter approaching, I should remember the blood Christ
shed on the cross to wash us of our sins instead of complaining so much, so please help
me praise more and complain less.
“Are you okay?” Chandra asks, seeing I was once again lost in though and prayer.
“Yeah I’m fine. I was just praying.”
“Sorry for interrupting I didn’t know.”
“No need for apologies Chandra, it’s okay. I was closing my prayer.”
“I’ve been doing a lot of praying and a lot of thanking God since the doctors told
me my tests were clean again.”
“I’ve been thanking God for that too, we all have. Mom was so worried the day
you went for the tests, that we spent much of the afternoon praying.”
“Thank you my Mamma was praying too of course, at times I think it was worse
on her when I was sick.”
“I know what you mean Mamma took it so hard when she heard that I was
paralyzed from the shoulders down.”
Surviving what we survived gave Chandra and I a lot of reason for prayer and
praise. My life was changed yes, but I was still alive, and I was here to make a difference,
the Lord had a reason for keeping me alive and I had to remind myself of that over and
over again. My best friend and I were survivors, and the Lord had sustained us for a
reason it was as simple as that.
Looking at Chandra now her long chestnut hair, and healthy grow a contrast to
what it was like ten years ago, when her skin was ashen and her hair falling out from the
Chemo, somehow it had grown out thicker, and even more beautiful than it had before. It
would be hard for anyone who didn’t know Chandra to believe that she had once been so
sick that everyone who cared about her was afraid she was going to die, from this
horrible disease. She was okay now though, and I thanked God for that.
I don’t mind sitting outside waiting for Mom to pull up when the weather is warm,
and I am talking to my best friend. The sun on my face feels good and having my best
friend by my side feels even better. We had always been close as close as two sisters our
parents use to tease us when we were little and tell us God must have forgot to make us
sisters. We laughed at that, because even as little girls we didn’t believe for a moment
God made mistakes, but we were sisters, sisters in Christ and that was more than enough
to make us family.
“If it’s okay with your Mom, Mom and I might stop over after Church at Easter.”
Like me Chandra was an only child, in a single parent household. Only her Daddy didn’t
die, he had just walked out on Chandra’s Mom when he was two. She heard from him,
he sent her presents at the holidays, and on her birthday, but he rarely saw her, and she
wanted to see him. Chandra felt like he didn’t want her in his life, and it hurt her.
“You know Mom wouldn’t mine.” I knew that was true , just as I was Chandra’s
best friend Leslie was my Mom’s best friend, and they had a close bond, probably as
close as Chandra and I.
It would be nice to at least have my best friend over for Easter, that part would at
least seem normal, although I would not be able to help as I wanted to with the kids at
Church and the Easter egg hunt that was just something else the crash had taken from me,
but I could still watch the kids. I could thank God I was here for another Easter, when I
could have easily died.
“Cool. Mom will bring over a fruit salad.”
“Sounds good to me.”
I was actually starting to look forward to Easter, seeing all the little girls and boys
at church dressed in there Easter best, the way Mom had use to do the same for me,
always finding the cutest dress for Easter. Mom use to tell me that Dad use to love to
help dress me for Easter, and he was more than happy to spend the money on the cute
dresses and shoes. I wondered how Daddy would have dealt with the accident if he had
“Are you going to the Prom the weekend after Easter?” I asked Chandra.
“I don’t know Jeffery asked me, but I always thought we would go on double
dates for prom.”
“Chandra don’t not go because of me. I want you to go, and you’ve been wanting
Jeffery to ask you out forever. If you don’t go I will be upset with you, and please tell me
everything after the prom.”
“I’ll go, but it’s not going to be the same without you. I wish somebody would ask
you to go.”
“Chandra get real, I could not even dance, what fun would that be?”
“You never know you might have fun.”
“My dreams of prom ended when I was told I was paralyzed Chandra.”
“Shana you need to be a little more positive.”
“I know I have been doing more than a little complaining lately, that’s what I
have been asking the Lord to help me with. I shouldn’t be complaining so much.”
“Shana considering all you have been through, I don’t think you are doing a lot of
complaining. I know people who have been through less and complain more.”
“I feel I need to work on my attitude though Chandra that’s what I was praying
Chapter Twenty Five:
Chandra came over the Friday after Easter to show me her prom dress. It was a
gorgeous Lavender Spaghetti Strap, with dyed Lavender Pumps to go with it. I was glad
she was so happy, but I kept thinking about how I had been dreaming about prom a year
ago. It kind of hurt me to think I would not be going but I was glad Chandra was going
and I prayed she would have a good time.
“You’re going to look great Chandra, Jeffery’s not going to know what to say
when he sees you.”
“I can’t believe Jeffery asked me out to the prom. It’s like a dream come true .
And best of all he’s a Christian.”
“Yes Thank God! I made the stupid mistake of trying to date someone who didn’t
share my beliefs, someone who did everything they could have done to discount my faith.
He tried his hardest to get me to stop believe, but even when I pretended I didn’t I knew
that I was lying to myself. I prayed all the time even if it was in quiet, but mostly those
prayers were selfish prayers.”
“Chad was a jerk, you know that’s what I feel about him.”
“Believe me I know now, I wish I would have listened to everyone before. I wish
I hadn’t been such a jerk myself.”
“Shana you weren’t a jerk.”
“Yes I was.”
“Chad just had you believing his lies is all, and now you know how wrong he
“Yeah now I know, and look at the price I paid. But I am here and I need to thank
God for that.”
“I know I thank God for that.”
“I hope you have a great time tomorrow. I’m glad Jeffery asked you out. I know
you have been praying about being asked to the prom.”
“It sounds silly though, considering there are so many other things, bigger things I
can be praying for.”
“Chandra God hears our prayers no matter how big or how small.”
“Yeah I guess, but it just feels wrong considering all you have been through.”
”You don’t have to feel guilty about anything, none of this was your fault.”
“I just hate thinking you aren’t going to prom.”
“Chandra there are going to be a lot of things I will no longer be able to do, but I
am alive and I am breathing, I’ve learned to thank God for that.”
“You’re braver than I could ever be.”
“Not really, I am just learning to lean on the Lord again.”
“That’s all we can do sometimes.”
“Yeah and it’s the best thing we can do that’s why I am so thankful for all the
prayers that people have prayed on my behalf.”
I was trying hard not to be to upset over the fact that I was going to the prom, but
the fact was it did hurt. Only a few months ago I had dreams of going to the prom, with
Chad, but now I was stuck in this chair, and Chad had turned out to be just the bad news
my Mom had said he would be. I found that I was beating myself up again for the
mistake, but no matter what happened I could not change what happened to me. I tried
hard to hide what I was feeling from Chandra though, but my best friend could read me
well, we had known each other for so long that she could tell when I was not telling her
everything, the same way I could tell with her.
“Shana I wish you could go. I know you are trying to be strong about this, but it’s
not going to be the same without you. This was something we were suppose to celebrate
together, we were suppose to go on double dates to the prom together.”
“I know, but sometimes things change.”
“I just never imagined that it would change this much.”
“Neither did I Chandra, but I made a stupid mistake and I am paying for it. I keep
wishing I would have listened to my Mom that day, I wish things would not have
happened the way they did, but all the wishing and the what ifs aren’t going to change
“I know Shana, but I am going to miss not being able to share this with you. We
grew up together, we doubled for our first dances together, in Elementary School I went
with Bobby, and you went with Paul, but we hung out together. I was just now getting
my hair back from the Chemo, and it felt good to feel normal again.”
“I remember that Chandra, remember our Mom’s bought us matching dresses,
said we acted so much like sisters we might as well dress alike.”
I looked at Chandra’s dress again, and saw how excited she was over it, but at the
same time she worried that I was unhappy. She was truly a good friend and she cared
about me at times I felt she was a better friend to me than I was to her, but she always
told me that I did enough for her, that I was a great friend, although remembering how I
had treated her when I was with Chad, I wondered how she could say that and believed
that. I had gone as far as to call her hateful names.
You’re nothing but a naïve preppy Christian. Why should I listen to you?
You don’t know anything about Chad.
Come on Shana, your Mom is right, he’s bad news. He’s a bully. He bullies
Christians. Do you really think he loves you?
You’re just jealous!
Shana you know better than that!
“Shana are you okay?”
“Yeah I was just remembering how hateful I was to you the last time we talked
before the crash.”
“I knew that you didn’t mean it.”
“The thing was at the time I was so blind I probably did mean it, but now I know
how stupid I was.”
“It’s done Shana, I forgave you along time ago.”
“Thank you Chandra.”
“You don’t need to thank me.”
“I think I do.”
Chandra walked over to me and gave me a hug, and I weakly gave her one back.
I had a little more control over my arms, but not much, and I knew that I could not expect
to much after all that I had been through, but every little thing was a gift from God and I
had to learn to look at it that way.
“I’m glad that we are friends again.” I told Chandra.
“So am I Shana, so am I.”
Chapter Twenty Six:
I felt kind of depressed the day of the prom. Chandra was getting ready for the
prom and I was sitting a prisoner in my chair. I normally tried not to think of myself as a
prisoner, but sometimes like today it was hard not to. I knew though that sitting around
feeling sorry for myself was not going to change what happened, it was not going to
make me any better, all it could do was make me feel worse, and I didn’t need to feel any
worse. I needed to get over the pity party, but I had dreamt so long of the Junior Prom,
and the crash had severed that dream along with my spine.
“Chandra I am sorry that you are missing out on this.” Mom said. “I wish you
could go to the prom.”
“That’s not happening.”
“You never know.”
“Mom it’s not like I am going to be able to get out of this chair and dance.”
“Chandra I hate seeing you feel so down.”
“I’ll be okay Mom.” I tried to convince my Mother, but I wasn’t sure at the
moment I could convince myself. I was feeling bad because of things I could not change,
but I was young and things like that hurt.
I tried to act like I was feeling better after that, but it was harder to hide the truth
from my Mom than it was to hide the truth from my best friend. Mom knew me better
than anyone else in the world, and she knew when I was hiding how I was really feeling.
“I wish you weren’t going through this Chandra.”
“I know Mom, but I made a stupid mistake and now I am finding out sometimes
you have to pay a high price for your mistakes.”
“Chandra this isn’t some sort of punishment because you did something wrong. I
don’t like to think God works that way.”
“It’s true though, that sometimes we have to pay for our mistakes.”
Mom went into the kitchen and began making dinner, and soon Sheba was
making herself comfortable on my lap delighted that I had enough movement in her arms
to pet her. I just could not feel Sheba’s soft fur, that didn’t seem to faze my cat though,
and she was a good comforter.
Soon I could smell the strong aroma of Mom making Pasta sauce, and I figured
we were probably having Spaghetti. I loved the food, but it was kind of humiliating
having to be fed, so Mom always cut mine up small enough, where I could use the special
spoon to eat it. Even that was kind of humiliating, but it was better than having to be fed,
and I had to learn to be thankful for what I was able to do.
Even the smell of the delicious food cooking could not keep my mind off of the
fact that if Chad hadn’t drove drunk and crashed into the tree, and if I hadn’t gone with
him I would be going to the prom. I wanted to be strong but sometimes it was just hard
to deal with everything I was dealing with.
Sheba’s loud purring brought me a little comfort. It was as if she sensed I was
upset and truthfully she probably had. I knew Sheba was a smart cat and sensitive. I
loved that kitten since I had gotten her a few months after Grandma died. Mom thought
the kitten would bring me a little comfort, and in over the years Sheba had brought me
more than a little comfort.
I bent my head down to look at Sheba, curled in my lap. It didn’t matter to her
that I could no longer walk, that I could not feel her when I stroked her, all that mattered
was I was there and I loved her. Some might think I was to close to my cat, but in many
ways I felt she had saved my life, or at least helped me to want to live, to want to fight.
Lord help me to be better at looking at what I have, instead of dwelling over what
I have lost. Lord help me be more thankful for my life, and help me to want to fight
this. Help me Lord to look at the positive side of things more.
Mom soon came into the living room living the pasta and sauce simmering on the
stove, to sit with me for a few minutes, and to talk to me. I really needed to hear what
she had to say even if I did not believe it at that moment.
“Chandra I want you to listen to me.”
“I don’t want you to think that what happened to you is going to mean that you
will never fall in love and get married. Somewhere out there is someone who will fall
and love with you, and one day I believe you will get married. Right now it might not feel
that way, because you are feeling sad over everything you lost. The Junior Prom may
seem like the biggest thing to you now, and that may be the way you feel for awhile, but
you are going to have bigger things in your life, and I really do believe you are going to
get married someday. The Lord has a young man out there somewhere for you, and he
will not treat you the way Chad did, he will love you for who you are.”
I looked at Mom with a deeper respect as she spoke to me. I prayed she was right,
and deep down I believed she probably was, but most of all I was thankful that she cared
enough for me to comfort me. She always had of course, but sometimes you can be blind
to all the things your Mom does for us, and I knew that I did not always give my Mom
the credit she deserved for all she had done for me.
“Somewhere deep down I know you are right Mom, but this still hurts. I had so
many dreams and they shattered.”
“I know baby, but you will have new dreams, the Lord will open new doors, but it
does hurt me that you are hurting.”
“It’s not your fault Mom.”
“I know but it still hurts and a Mother can’t help but feeling a little guilty when
their child is hurt.”
I had often thought of Mom’s blaming herself for what happened to me, but what
Mom was talking about what happened and how she felt and I hated that she blamed
herself in anyway, although deep down she knew that it was not her fault. Mom had tried
to do everything she could to prevent me from getting in that car with Chad, but I had
snuck out and gone anyway. I would live with that mistake every day of my life, and I
was not the only one affected by the decision Mom was and so was my best friend
“Thank you Mom.”
“What are you thanking me for Shana?”
“For being you, for loving me, for putting up with me when I was on the path of
“Shana you are my daughter nothing you do will ever change that.”
“I’m glad I didn’t die in that crash, I really am, but this still hurts me.”
Soon Mom went back to the stove to finish dinner, which was really beginning to
smell good, and I was left to think about all Mom had told me. I was thankful for her
love and her support in all of this.
I tried to push the fact that my best friend was at the prom and I was sitting
around the house out of my mind, but it just was not working very well. I was trying to
push it out of my mind, and think of the positive things, but I had dreamt of the prom. I
had dreamt of that since I was a young girl and had gone to my first dance at the
“It hurts me too.” Mom said from the kitchen.
I kept trying to focus on the positive things instead of the fact that I was missing
Prom. I had so much though, a Mother who loved me a best friend who would do almost
anything for me, and a cat purring happily on my lap. I may have lost a lot during the
crash, because of the crash but I didn’t loose my ability to love and be loved and I was
holding on to my faith, even if it seemed I was hanging on to it only by a thin thread at
Lord I know I am blessed, but sometimes I loose track of that, and find myself
focusing only on what I have lost and I am asking Lord that you help me deal with my
pain in a better way, and I ask you help me to focus more on the good in my life. I know
that dwelling on the bad can quickly turn you cynical.
I wondered for a moment about Chandra. I hoped she was having a good time,
but she was with the boy of her dreams Jeff, and she was at junior prom. It was
something we had dreamed about for so long, and I was missing out, but I had to keep
reminding myself not to dwell on that. All I needed to do was pray that my best friend
was having a good time, and pray that she would have stories to tell me about her night at
“Shana dinners ready.” Mom calls shaking me from my thoughts, and making
Sheba mad, because she was just getting comfortable, and now I was wheeling her into
the kitchen with me. I was glad though, because I was hungry and maybe enjoying a nice
dinner with my Mom would help keep my mind off of what Chandra might or might not
be doing, and off of the fact that I was not at the prom with the boy of my dreams.