Short Story Sunday: “Tumor” [323]

Short Story Sunday: "Tumor" | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

It wasn’t a big deal to him. When he got the diagnosis, he didn’t mind. Ethan was just happy to know what was going on inside of him. He hadn’t been feeling well for months. Doctors had taken tests and referred him to other doctors for a second opinion. However, it still took a long time for them to figure out what was wrong with him.

Helen was distraught when she found out. Ethan was 82-years-old and she always knew her parents would go before her.

However, she had lost her mother about ten years ago and couldn’t bare the thought of losing her father as well.

She was happy they had a diagnosis, sure. But it took them so long to figure it out that the tumor had grown so big. It was a risk to take it out. Or, Ethan could live the rest of his days however he saw fit and not be in a hospital bed.

He chose the latter.

Helen tried to keep a positive attitude. She couldn’t imagine what it must have felt like to know you were going to die soon. It made her think that she didn’t want to know how she was going to die. She just wanted it to happen quickly and painlessly when it was her time to leave the earth. However, Ethan was oddly excited about it and Helen couldn’t understand why.

Ethan was happy to finally know what was wrong with him. He had vowed that there would be no more doctor visits. He wouldn’t have to spend any overnights in the hospital. He knew he was sick and he was going to make the most of his final days on earth with his family and whatever little friends he had left.

He was excited. He had no regrets. He had lived a well and wonderful life. He was proud of his family. He was present for all the big milestones of his sons, daughters, and grandchildren. He even had a couple of great-grandchildren.

He missed his wife and couldn’t wait to head to Heaven to see her again.

Helen cried every time he spoke of it and he always smiled and patted her on the shoulder. He was thankful to live such a full life that he didn’t need to worry about leaving the earth. Helen could only hope that she would be that ready when she was lying on her death bed.

So, when the tumor finally took over Ethan’s whole body, he laid in bed with a smile on his face. He said his goodbyes and I love yous to his family. He closed his eyes, peacefully grinning.

Helen waited alongside her husband and their children. Alongside her brothers and sisters and their husbands, wives, and children. All was quiet. The air was heavy.

Ethan opened one eye. He chuckled. “Either He’s not ready for me yet or your mother wants a little more peace and quiet before I get there.”

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

You can take a look at more Short Stories here.

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6 thoughts on “Short Story Sunday: “Tumor” [323]

  1. Very moving story, Rachel! You did a good job of showing the feelings of both Helen and Ethan. I can see why Helen was heartbroken. I can also see why Ethan felt at peace. This story also reminded me to not take life for granted and appreciate it more. It is a moving story and you did a nice job. Kudos.

    • Thanks so much. I’m glad you thought so. This was loosely based on my cousins’ grandfather. He was so excited “to go to Heaven” and “meet Jesus” and “see my wife again.” It was amazing to be in that space with him. (Of course, he sprung back to life the next day and didn’t pass away for another year!) 😂

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