The thoughts of dying children

These tweets, sent to me by Matthew, were collected and posted by Alastair McAlpine, who doesn’t seem to have a big internet presence. But these statements, which come from terminally ill children, are ineffably beautiful and poignant. They made me tear up hard.

There is nothing sadder than a dying child, who lose their lives before they’ve lived them. What a horrible thing it must be for a parent to think about that! But there’s an upside to be found below: these kids enjoyed themselves, and they’re telling us what we, who have much longer lives, should be enjoying too.

Read them all.


  1. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Although he was not a child, I am reminded of actor Anthony Perkins remark that he learned so much more about the meaning and nature of love from being a member of the AIDS community than any of his experiences in Hollywood.

    Perkins was bisexual and died of AIDS.
    (Yes, this is the lead in Hitchcock’s “Psycho”.)

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 1, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Played Jimmy Piersall in the baseball movie Fear Strikes Out, too — but then the Red Sox are known for batting from both sides of the plate. 🙂

    • Nobody Special
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Had a moment of confusion there, wondering when ‘Hannibal Lecter’ had died and not having heard of his having AIDS. It was only when I got to the last line that I clicked; Perkins, not Hopkins.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I thought the one about wishing they had spent less time worrying about what others thought of them was important. Kids especially, but adults too, seem to worry and waste way too much of their time on this when there are much more important things for them to do and think about. Being part of the herd is important for some animals but not so much for humans.

    • Helen
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:20 am | Permalink

      It took me a long time to figure that out, and I agree with you completely.

  3. Posted February 1, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Simplicity itself. Like haiku, paring the words heaps meaning into the remaining. I had a few moments where these poets evoked in me feelings with their thoughts.

  4. rickflick
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I’m with them on ice cream. Most everything else too.

  5. glen1davidson
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    And keep them out of the hospital.

    They don’t like it, and lots of people die there.

    Glen Davidson

  6. darrelle
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Christ! I’m going to have sleepless nights for a week now.

  7. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    I am reminded of this comment from biblia – I think of it often:

    Posted June 22, 2017 at 6:14 am

    In the last days of my youngest boy’s life (22) he craved cheese. The dietitian in charge approved soft cheese in jars. It was too late, he never emerged from the coma. It still haunts me almost 8 years later. Eat what you like and never regret.

    A parent can always see the child that was – even in a 22yo. To see Claudia Baker’s touching, simple words of comfort to biblia CLICK HERE

    Good people such as Claudia make this vale of tears bearable!

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted February 1, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Aw, that is so sweet of you to say! Made me choke up a little. Just as Biblia’s story did.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:42 am | Permalink

        Needed to be said 🙂

  8. Christopher
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    That was sweet.

    I work with kids and it makes me quite sad that I would have to search high and low to find one whose parents read to them regularly if at all. I cherish the memories I have of reading to my son almost every night until he was 13. Harry Potter, Lemony Snickett, Mark Twain, some Steinbeck, Roald Dahl, classic little kid books from my childhood…great times. And I still recall laying on the couch with my grandpa while he read the Three Little Pigs or Little Red Riding-hood. Today’s children will only have memories of getting a smartphone and watching Netflix by themselves.

    And kindness. I regret the times I’d lost my temper with my son, or with anyone, really. Those times stuck in my mind, coming back to haunt me in the middle of a sleepless night. I’ve always regretted the times I was mean to someone, but I’ve never regretted being nice to anyone.

    • Paul S
      Posted February 1, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      I don’t remember, but I was told our mother read the newspaper aloud to us instead of books.

      • Christopher
        Posted February 1, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        I remember my grandma reading the funnies to me, Peanuts, Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, Blondie…but the decline of newspapers, well, I doubt kids will have fond memories of their parents’ digital news feed.

        • Jake Sevins
          Posted February 1, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          I ordered the complete set of Calvin and Hobbes from Amazon and my kids and I read them together. Kind of like the funnies…

          • Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

            I am not a parent, and have no desire to be, but I do applaud those who have now created a second generation of C&H fans.

            (My sister has a family, so maybe there will be some closer …)

            • Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

              (Second generation of *kid* fans, that is – third or fourth generation altogether.)

        • Helen
          Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:24 am | Permalink

          You made me remember my great grandmother who would call me on the landline to ask if we could read the funnies together! She lived to 103 years. Loved her so much.

    • Posted February 1, 2018 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      When I worked as a Kindergarten teacher I used to tell stories to the kids as well as reading to them. That seemed to reach them in an even deeper way than reading.

      And when I worked at summer camps for handicapped kids, in Germany, before I could speak German, I’d recite them poetry in English to calm them down before sleep. Blake’s ‘Sunflower’ was one….

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    That was wrenching. Like to see The Grand Inquisitor take God to task for this.

    • Posted February 1, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      I remember hearing Christians I knew saying how they were sometimes angry with God. I always thought “Huh?” until I realized that if I really thought there was one, I’d also want to send that fellow to the Grand Inquisitor too. Humans can go to the Hague, but not that dude.

    • Helen
      Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:26 am | Permalink

      I would like that as well.

    • Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      “Bone cancer in little children? What’s that about?”

      • Posted February 2, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        I had a classmate in high school (and CEGEP) who said at the time that she wanted to be a pediatric oncologist. I don’t know what she’s done with herself … but that answer (the specificity and the horror to me of doing it) stuck with me. She was at the time (dunno now) fairly religious, so …

        • Posted February 2, 2018 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

          I’m sure there are many religious pediatric oncologists. I don’t know how they maintain their religiosity. I wouldn’t be able to.

          The quip I quoted is from the incomparable Stephen Fry.

  10. nicky
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Yes, poignant. They make clear what those little acts of love, kindness and intimity are worth. It echoes what my young wife thought before she died.

    • Paul S
      Posted February 1, 2018 at 5:18 pm | Permalink


  11. Posted February 1, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I guess these kids are constrained to eliminating whats not worth bothering with and stick to what matters to, and for their well being.
    Which i guess, is an inverse effect, freeing oneself from all that noise.
    An ability some precious individuals could learn and apply at times. Myself included.

  12. Posted February 1, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Michael Fisher’s and Claudia’s comments above (#7) make me think of one of the things on this site that have touched me — that story about the guy who found a bird trying to climb out of a rock pool, rescuing it and driving it to the vet in his car. And then finding it had a broken pelvis and needed to be put to sleep. I can still see the photo of the bird wrapped up in a cloth on the back seat of the car and looking happy…

  13. Mike
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I would as the Elizabethans said “put him to the Question” Kids with terminal illnesses should awake believers to the fact he doesn’t exist,but no,it’s all part of God’s plan. some fucking Plan, some fucking God !!

  14. natalielaberlinoise
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    @ /9:

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