I met a blog reader yesterday (and new friend) in NC at a dance competition.  After a brief introduction and explanation and figuring out who was whom (as we also have a mutual friend), she mentioned that she recognized McCanless.


I just knew my short do was a dead giveaway.  Surely, she recognized me and my crazy “chemo hair.”

For a moment, I was dumbfounded.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

The past 7 months have been about me.  My bald head.  My cancer.   My chemotherapy.  My trials.  Me.

And if I’m honest with myself, the four years leading up to this point have been about Mary Clare.  Her surgeries.   Her recovery.  Her seizures. Her medications.

And life is always about Mel.  Our world always revolved around his recent passions, ideas and creative spirit.

McCanless once said to me, “You, Dad and MC each have ‘something,’ what’s mine?”

As I watched my insightful girl dance on stage yesterday, I remembered that she was only three when she learned the harsh reality of life.  She learned that sometimes it isn’t fair.  She learned to live without Mommy during the same month that she learned to swim without floaties.

She learned that baby sisters and life can be fragile.

And she was reminded of that again this year.

Unfortunately, she knows what a port is, the ugliness of a seizure, and how to ignore scars.

She’s mature and patient beyond her years.  She’s amazing.  She’s recognizable.  Not only for her sweet spirit and smile, but for her contribution to our family.  I hope one day I can truly explain that her ‘something’ is her.


Nonnie  on March 12th, 2012

McCanless is my hero! She had weathered the “storm ” of life without complaining-She is SOMETHING-she is one special young lady with a smile that will make you smile,a hug just when you need it and just all around sweet kid!
I love you CAN CAN and so does everyone else!

Carrie  on March 12th, 2012

McCanless is beautiful and amazing!

Tricia  on March 12th, 2012

This hits so close to home as we have an 11 yr old daughter who is the best big sister to her “heart” sister. McCanless – you are amazing, just like Maddie 🙂

Betty Ann  on April 11th, 2012

So sweet! “that her “something” is her”—made me cry! You are such a good mama!