How to save a life

This blog has been inspired by the song ‘How to save a life’ by the Fray. All lyrics and rights belong to The Fray, however I have slightly altered them to better suit my circumstances.

A lot of people know that I was delivered bad news at the hospital yesterday. I don’t know how to say it, so instead I have written it.

Know that I love each and every one of you, and without you all, I could not survive this.

This is for those who have always ‘stayed up all night’ with me; You know who you are.

Jess xxx

You can find ‘How to Save a life’ here;


Step one she says ‘We need to talk’

I walk, she says ‘Sit down it’s just a talk’

She smiles politely back at me

I stare politely right on through

Some sort of window to my right

As she goes left I stay right

Between the lines of fear and blame

I begin to wonder why I came


She is mumbling. And I know, I know what is coming. You don’t need to say anything to say everything. She trips and falls over her words. The carpet fascinates her, my paperwork. Her heart is breaking in the lines on her face, and finally her eyes meet mine.

Her voice is quiet.

We are reaching the end of the road. There are injections to try, but with them come complications…I don’t want to go down that road. After this, we are at the end of the line. I guess I am just…I’m sorry Jess.

I do not move, and I do not speak. Instead I gasp, and my lungs fill with the white noise that devastation brings.

And this is how a heart breaks.

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend?
Somewhere along in the bitterness,
And would you stay up with me all night?
If you knew how to save my life?


But she isn’t finished. This I didn’t see coming. For weeks, I have been busily encasing myself in my desperate tomb.

It’s not looking good Jess, you need to be prepared. You need to be ready’.

And I did, I tried. I would curl up in the base of the shower, and gently stroke my tummy. And then I would remind myself.

‘You probably aren’t going to have a baby in here one day Jess’.

The Mummies down the streets, with babies in the prams. I would smile at their gurgle, and squeal when they smiled back. But I would always catch myself.

This might not be yours to have Jess’.

I would stand in line at Big W, and catch sight of the magazines awaiting a greedy last minute purchase. And I would stare longingly at the ‘Expecting’ issues. And then I would pay for my purchases, and run as quickly as I could. To remind myself that I would likely never need these in my home.

I thought I was prepared.

But you can prepare for war. You cannot prepare to be shot into a million, bloody pieces.

And the blood; there is just so much of it. Week after week at Uni I study the cells within, the red and the white and all that lies inbetween. And I took it for granted, all of it. I painted the bloody pictures in my notes. Red lets me gasp, and white fights off the yellow tinge of infection. Plasma was not a television and rather the river in which I float.

But then there are the platelets.

Why didn’t I think of the fucking platelets?

Let me know that you know best
Cause after all you do know best
Try to slip past my defense
Without granting innocence
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you’ve told me all along
And pray to God, He hears me
And pray to God, He hears me

I remembered when the alcohol prep stained the air, and she prepared the needle. She palpated the crook of my elbow and I apologised. I apologised that my veins weren’t good enough. She asked me if I was scared, and I laughed.

I laughed and I laughed and I laughed.

And now I can’t think of a single reason to.

So I laugh again, because I can think of every reason to cry.

My doctors voice is quiet once more. The blood test is gone, and so is the laughter.

Your platelets are abnormal. I need to refer you to a haematologist. They will be in touch with you soon.

And so I ask her to explain. I pray that my one semester and one week of studying Nursing will be enough. I ask it to translate my fate.

But I don’t understand. Maybe she speaks too quickly, or maybe she speaks too much. Maybe she speaks another language, or maybe I am deaf and mute.

Or maybe I just never listened.

Because, maybe it will be ok.

But maybe it won’t.

So I tell her.

Tell me. Tell me where we are, tell me what is next. Tell me my chances, and tell me how it’s going to be. Just tell me the truth.

I dare her. I dare her to say it. Say the word.

Say Hysterectomy.

Instead she looks away.

Her voice is full of false hope.

Maybe this last treatment will work.

She smiles wistfully, and know I know the truth. Now she has told me all.

So I pray to God that he hears me.

I pray that he hears me cry, and I pray that he hears me scream.

And most of all, I pray that He knows that this is all His fault.

As she begins to raise her voice
I lower mine, she grants me one last choice
Drive until I lose the road
Or break with the ones I’ve followed
She will do one of two things
She will admit to everything
Or She’ll say it’s just not the same
And I’ll begin to wonder why I came

$135. This is the last medication. The last desperate attempt to stem all that will not. I tell them I will pay more. Take my tips, buy something nice for the wife. I will empty my account, however small it may be. Just give me a few minutes, and you can have the parking meter money from my car, and the coins that I find on the footpath. I will give you all that I have, and there will be more later. Just give me time to find it.

I will pay you til the end of the earth for this medication. To you it costs $135. But if it doesn’t work, I pay with my future.

So please, just take the fucking cheque.

She tells me about the injections. There are needles, full with all that my body should not need. The doctors will pinch my skin, and I make a silent promise to learn it myself. But then there will be more injections she says. Because, I have complications. I always have complications. It will strip my bones, and leave them a splintered wreckage.

And then I whisper.

I already have Osteoporosis.

And her face lets me know. The final option is probably not an option anymore.

And I hate myself. Internally, I slap myself over and over and over.

Until I can almost pretend that I never said a word.

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And would you stay up with me all night?
If you knew how to save my life?

And I don’t know where I went wrong. I do not know of the terrible mistake that I made, nor the one that I should have.

Maybe I am bad, or maybe I am sad. Maybe there is a reason for this, and maybe there is not.

Maybe it will be ok, and maybe it will not.

But I guess that all I want to know is this;

Will you stay up with me, all night?

While they try to save my life?


10 thoughts on “How to save a life

  1. I am sorry. Loss of the future hopes and dreams is a new and excruciating type of torturous grief in every breath.

    You are extraordinary.

    I wish I knew how to save a life.

    Love xoxo

  2. I’m so sorry Jess. You must be going through a lot of emotional pain right now.
    I have seen your posts of FB groups and have seen an inner strength, through your words. This strength will pull you through this awful time.
    Be strong and take care xoxo

  3. wow. Your words were my life. I lost my angel Sky to cf and i wrote our story in my blog. Similar to yours… I am the girl who stayed up all night. Ur a graceful spirit meant to teach.write.share…suffer…but overcome.and so this is what you do. Bowing. Happy to see youre also a facebook friend.must have added you from cf forums.
    life and death.a hard thing…you make it graceful and pure.take care

    • Hi Shantelle, I often follow your journey through love, grief, loss and your incredible strength to continue to overcome your loss of Sky. Sky simple sounds like the most incredible, beautiful man, and it breaks my heart that you had to say goodbye so early. Know that his legacy continues through you, and your life, every single day. I never knew Sky, but I think he would be impossibly proud of you. Love and light to you. xx

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