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Chapter 3: The Short Sad Life of an Angel


In “The Short Sad Life of an Angel” Christine’s work captures the deeply emotional and poignant experiences she went through as a childhood cancer survivor. She provides a touching glimpse into her relationships, her bond with her friend Sarah, and the heart-wrenching realities of dealing with cancer at such a young age.

"Meeting an Angel Named Sarah": This passage beautifully portrays the profound connection and friendship Christine developed with Sarah, another young cancer patient in the same hospital. It illustrates the sense of camaraderie and shared experiences that brought them together. Sarah becomes a source of support, comfort, and understanding in the midst of the pain, treatments, and challenges they faced. The description of the pizza parties, art room activities, and the mutual support they provided to each other highlights the special bond they had. This friendship becomes a symbol of strength, and Sarah's passing adds a bittersweet dimension to Christine's story, reminding her of the fragility of life and the strength she gained from their connection.

"Sarah’s Story": This poem gives voice to Sarah's perspective, revealing the confusion and pain she experienced as a young child facing a serious illness. The innocence of Sarah's narrative contrasts starkly with the harsh reality of her battle against cancer. The poem captures the fear, loneliness, and yearning for comfort that a child might feel in such a situation. The conclusion, where Sarah's voice transforms into a tragic realization, is emotionally impactful and serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility of life.

These passages beautifully express the complex emotions and relationships that are an integral part of the journey of childhood cancer survivors. Through Christine's words, readers are invited into her world, gaining insight into the friendships formed, the challenges faced, and the lasting impact of those experiences. Her writing not only honors the memory of her friend Sarah but also offers a testament to the resilience of those who have faced such adversities at a young age.

The Short Sad Life of an Angel


In the hospital I met an Angel, her name was Sarah. She was in the room next to me and she had leukemia too. She was a very sweet girl and we had fun together, she helped me not to feel as different. We shared a lot of things like pizza parties, we played in the art room and we gave each other the drugs that were impossible to take. It seemed much easier to swallow when she gave them to me, compared to 5 nurses holding me down while they poured it down my throat. Out of all my friends on the fourth floor she was the best. She was an amazing friend even if she was only 3.

Sarah was such a gift to me, I had never had someone who understood so much and shared all the physical and emotional pain of the countless needles, spinal taps and loss of freedom knowing you have an IV connected to your chest 24/7. I think although so young we needed each other. When Sarah passed, part of me went with her and part of her stayed with me. Although I was unable to attend the funeral, I still think about her all the time. I believe that she died so that I could live and because of that I never gave up. All through my life she has given me the strength to hold on

It made me sad just to look at the empty bed on that fourth floor in room 420. Although it was 10 years ago that she died, I will always remember her because she will forever be in my heart.

Sarah’s Story

A Childhood Cancer Survivor Poem
© 2016 Christine Mulvihill

My name is Sarah, I am but 4
Trapped staring at the ceiling and at the floor
I don't even understand what I’m fighting for.

I never did wrong I always did what was right
Now it hurts so bad I can’t sleep at night.
Why is my mommy crying what is going through her head
I’d give her a hug if I was allowed to leave my bed.

My stomach is starving but cannot eat
I want to get up but I’m much too weak
I lay down my head and drift off to sleep
I pray to the lord for my soul to keep.

Then I stop breathing and through the dark I see a light,
My name is Sarah and cancer murdered me tonight.

Other poems of interest for The Short Sad Life of an Angel

           In Your Heart          Tender Moments          I See Your Soul

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