Elena Desserich was diagnosed with brain cancer at 5 years old. She began to hide hundreds of little notes around the house — in sock drawers, backpacks and tucked between the books on the shelves — for her parents, Brooke and Keith, to find after she was gone. In “Notes Left Behind,” her parents share the journal entries they kept during her battle, as well as content from the notes left by Elena. An excerpt.
From Part 1: The beginning
Day 1—November 29
It began early. We called it “binner.” With her IV surgery scheduled for 7 a.m., the last time she could eat was 1 in the morning. So at midnight I woke her up to a breakfast/dinner of yogurt — except the nurse forgot to order yogurt before the kitchen closed and we ended up with a meal of pudding and applesauce instead. From 1 a.m. to dawn we talked about “Alice in Wonderland,” her new discovery of the TV remote and what she always wanted to do. And although I couldn’t always understand her words because of the tumor, I could usually understand her drawings.
Good lord, what a sad and beautiful story.