He sucks in a deep breath before saying, “Do you think there are stars in heaven?”
“Of course there are. There is anything your little heart desires.”
“Even my hot fudge sundaes?” His question causes me to lightly laugh. Of course he asks about his favorite dessert that he has been craving for the past month.
This causes his mother to whimper as she struggles against surrendering to the breaking point. She’s always fought to not break down in front of Braden. She doesn’t want him to see how upset this entire situation makes her.
He brightens from the response, his eyes returning to the show above us. The entire time my view is locked on the little angel in front of me, knowing everything I’ve done tonight to make this possible is still not enough for him. He deserves more. He deserves a lifetime worth of years to gaze up at the stars, not borrowed hours as we wait, wondering when the end will come.
Unfortunately, the wait wasn’t long. Braden took his last breath two days later. I was at his side, holding his mother’s hand when he gave his last smile before closing his eyes for the final time. He took a piece of my heart with him at that very moment, but they all have.
As I remove the glow in the dark stars I’d placed around the room to lift his spirits, my heart returns to a hardened muscle, worsening with every patient I lose. The stars were supposed to represent hope towards a recovery, not a battle lost.
Every night when my shift started, I would add another star for Braden to gaze at as he fought to break free of the prison his disease had put him in. Near the end, the stars no longer held their joyful meaning; they had slowly turned into a reminder of the days he would have left.
Each child, as many before him, came through those doors of the pediatric oncology wing with hope in their little hearts, believing they would win the battle against the traitor they had inside of them. Many have gone home, free of the monster they had come with. But others, like Braden, were less fortunate.
Why does fate have to be so cruel? Why do children have to suffer? But most of all, why does cancer have to be a soul taking asshole sometimes, taking the lives of those battling so hard to fight it? I will never have the answer, but because of never having the answer, I will never give up hope that one day I will no longer have to grant these last wishes.
It’s because of those young souls that I will keep doing everything in my power to help them fight the asshole that is cancer. Every smile I receive in return is the reason why I love my job so much. I know what it’s like to have hope, and I also know what it’s like to be that family member that loses the battle. But I refuse to give up. If one final wish is what they want before their bright light extinguishes, then one final wish is what I’ll give them, regardless of what I have to do to make it happen.
What an amazing start to a new series by Gabbie S. Duran. I have been a fan of Gabbie’s since Unspoken Memories and I have to say that Wishful Thinking is her best book yet.
This book tackles a subject that is tough – Cancer. Lexie is an oncology nurse who tries to be everything she can for her patients. Having gone through the experience first hand with her sister, she know the weights that not only the patient takes on but also their family. She becomes known as the wish maker, never failing to help grant the wishes, doing whatever she can to make wishes of a child come true. So when she finds herself backstage at a Dragon Knights concert, trying to convince the lead singer to come visit one of her patients, who is their biggest fan, she finds that her run as the wish maker may have come to an end.
Kaleb Knight, can’t get the nurse who showed up at one of their shows out of his mind. He has his reasoning for telling her no, yet here he is, at the hospital about to go visit a kid he had no plans in visiting. There is something about this little pixie, full of fire, that keeps him coming back for more (punishment).
Both Kaleb and Lexie have their own demons to fight yet are brought together by a little boy who ends up stealing both of their hearts, bridging a relationship between the two of them, neither thought would ever happen.
This story tore at my heart. The pain and suffering not only a patient goes through but the ones that love them goes through too. Be ready with a box of Kleenex because there were some moments I had to stop and wipe through the tears to continue on. Beautifully written, full of heart and amusement. I LOVED Wishful Thinking and can’t wait for more books in this series!