When I think of the time spent with Jamie while he was battling cancer, one would think that the negative moments would be the first to pop into my mind. The moments punctuated with pain and fear and uncertainty. But in all actuality, they are the last things I think of. What my mind goes to are the little moments. These tiny, seemingly insignificant memories that I'll treasure forever.
On Halloween, while he was having a bad reaction to his treatment, we watched 4 hours of Bob's Burgers and someone gave us pencils, sketchbooks, and erasers shaped like Jack-O-Lanterns. When he was in remission and going to college, we spent most weekdays together and one afternoon, a commercial for RuPaul's Drag Race came on. We both danced to the song that was playing and later watched every single episode of that season together. And while he was in hospice, I got really good at Overwatch; a competitive shooter that he played and he would watch it and smile. He was too weak to play it himself but he still wanted to see the game in action. To anyone else, these things mean next to nothing; an eraser, a reality show, and a video game. But to me, they represent some really good memories, of a really bad time.
So to those caring for an adolescent or young adult with cancer, while each and every day is filled with fear and uncertainty, stress and the unknown; think about the little things. Don't let the negative thing that happened on a day define that day for either of you. Scary procedure coming up? Bookend it with memories the two of you will cherish. Drown out the negative memory with amazing ones. And while days, weeks, and months will blur past you in a state of mental stress and confusion. Take the moment to make a moment. Not just for yourself, but for that person as well. Journal, take pictures, make audio recordings; just capture your time together and the essence of your relationship however you want.
To this day, my Jack-O-Lantern eraser sits unused in my office, I have played Overwatch weekly for almost 3 years, and I have not missed a single episode of Drag Race. While not grand, sweeping, emotional memories of my younger brother on what would have been his birthday, these moments are how I choose to remember our time together; irreverent, stupidly weird, and most of all, perfect. It's the little things that matter the most.