The thing is, Horton, she's scared. She's really, really scared. I know you couldn't see it, tucked neatly away in my backpack where you spend so much of your time, but that girl is frightened. She's putting on a good show – a really good show – and good for her. She's saying all the right things, "we don't know anything yet for sure" and "whatever happens, I'll deal with it," but you and I both know, Hort, that uncertainty is scary. And waiting for that result, that phone call, that scan – well, that just sucks.
You and I have had some great times. I've taken you with me to all kinds of places – different states, different hotel rooms, different restaurants. I've showed you off to friends and explained to them how you came to be in my backpack. I've chuckled as I've told them what you represent to me. I've watched business men's eyebrows raise when you tumble out onto the floor in the airplane or when I set you aside so I can find my wallet in a restaurant. You've seen the inside of fancy offices and cush hotels and limos. It's been fun – for both of us. But I know it hasn't always been easy. I've stuffed you away inside my pocket – not even caring about the bulge your girth makes – when things get a little hectic for me and I've taken comfort to feel you there bouncing against my hip as I go about my day. More than once I've been in a state, an ugly way, caught up in frustration or anger or worry when you've popped your head up out of my backpack or roller bag when I'm separating my liquids for the TSA agent and you've calmed me down. I've squeezed you a little too tightly during some turbulent flights and I've forced you to stay hidden too often. I'm amazed at how often I've come to look for you in my bag and rely on your fuzzy face to calm me down. You've become a symbol to me. You represent the person I want to be – one who remembers that a person's a person no matter how small. You remind me to be faithful – 100%. You make me laugh when I'm really really tired. You make me smile when I'm anxious and concerned. You make me glad that the little girl tucked way down deep inside of me is still around and you remind me that through it all – through everything that life, cancer, chemo has thrown at me that I'm still that little girl who loves a stuffed elephant. And you remind me that it's all going to be okay. No matter what, it's all going to be okay.
I think you know how much I adore you.
So you may not understand, Horton, why I gave you away today. You might be worried that my feelings have changed. You may think that I don't need you anymore or I don't want you around. But please understand that couldn't be farther from the truth. Horton, there was nothing I could do for her. As I stood there, eye to eye with her, reading the fear and frustration, knowing the grip it can have on the heart and mind, feeling again my own bile rise in my throat and I thought of another round, another fight, another battle, I was helpless. What could I say? What can I do? I can't comfort her or console her or make her believe it will all be alright. I can't slip into her pocket and bounce against her hip , I can't stay with her and sit on her desk and hide away in her bedside table. I can't be a reminder to her to become the woman she's meant to be – no matter what, I can't promise to be there in the middle of the night or the middle of the day when the worry overtakes her. I can't do any of that – but you can.
So I hope you understand, dear elephant, why I pushed you into her hands today. It's not that I don't need you – but she needs you more. It's a big job. But you're just the elephant to pull it off.
Do your thing, Hort. Do your thing.