Elizabeth Barone


Tag: cancer

The Perfect New Adult Show

11950269_932209006835457_2088864213728206536_oI am just crazy about Chasing Life, you guys. I can’t get enough of this show—even if it totally makes me cry, every time.

I’m still reeling over the loss of Leo, even though I saw it coming. Big, heavy sigh. It was really, really hard to watch April go through that. Not only did it echo aspects of my own life, but Italia Ricci’s performance was just heartbreaking. I think, even if you’d never lost anyone, you’d still find yourself tearing up at her reaction when she tries to wake Leo up.

Still, I came back last week and this week. (Technically, I waited until yesterday and today to catch up, but hey. That’s life for you.) I don’t even know where to start. So much happened!

For one, April’s behavior in the aftermath of losing Leo reminded me too much of how I would react. It was absolutely heart wrenching to watch her careen through her grief. Being a Type A, she is stubborn and fiercely independent—one of the reasons why I relate to her so much. When her mom offers her help, she proudly refuses, saying she doesn’t need counseling. But she tries to go back to cancer support group. I knew this was a bad idea; that is, after all, where she met Leo. Her detachment from other people’s problems was all too realistic.

Then, the crushing blow: Beth, in the heat of the moment, tells her to “just get over it.” April completely bottoms out, ending up at a club where she does Ecstasy.

Meanwhile, Beth goes to April’s mom for help. She feels helpless, like she can’t talk to April about her own life because so many good things are happening for her. Sara assures her that April wants her to be happy. Still, the rift between the girls remains.

The show picked up this week where last week ended, right before a major snow storm. Oh, New England. How I love thee. Not! Living in Connecticut, I could totally commiserate. A few years ago, Halloween was canceled because the sky dumped like three feet of snow on us.

April’s entire family plus Beth end up snowed in at her house, and the drama unfolds. April and Natalie finally confront George. The truth comes out, and it’s a total surprise. I honestly wondered whether Thomas was still alive somewhere. I thought maybe he caved under the pressure of having two families and faked his own death so he could get out of it.


The girls are left reeling after George finally divulges that their father had ALS and crashed his own car so that he wouldn’t have to suffer. He also wanted the Carver girls to get his life insurance money. Natalie is hurt that her father didn’t even think of her and takes off, stripping her and Beth’s apartment of all of her belongings.

April and Beth make up, but they’re left in shock.

The grief started to ebb in this episode, which is good. It’s a delicate balance. I really hoped the writers would move April through it realistically, without dragging it on. Looks like that’s exactly what they’re doing.

I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes next, and whether April can find Natalie. I like her a lot, and I love how close the sisters have all become despite their rough beginning.

Three things I’ve learned about writing from this show:

  1. Be unpredictable. Brainstorm the possible outcomes that your audience might come up with, then go in the completely opposite direction. Of course, it still has to make sense with the plot and things you’ve planted beforehand.
  2. Ground your story in realistic characters. That way, even when the drama unfolds, they will react to things just like actual people would, making them more relatable.
  3. Pepper the heavy mood with jokes or quirky character traits. Things can’t be all serious all the time, or you will depress the hell out of your audience.

Have I mentioned how much I love this show?

Cancer Sucks, but Good Writing Doesn’t

11880573_919774224745602_2475457999899911259_n“My husband. He’s not breathing.”

Twenty-four hours after catching up on Chasing Life, and I’m still reeling. I don’t even know where to begin. How much I relate to this show. How much it hurt to watch April lose Leo. I don’t think any show has ever made me cry so hard. It struck all of my nerves.

That’s what good writing is all about.

I can’t deny that I saw it coming. Back when April first found out her cancer was back, I thought Wouldn’t it be crazy if Leo ends up dying, since we’re all so worried about April? Then I pushed the thought away, because no one wanted that. Still, it stayed with me because, as a writer, that’s exactly what I would do.

My heart is so broken.

I have to give this show major props. The writers don’t play it safe. Nothing is ever predictable. What was shocking to me was, I really hoped I was wrong because each episode strives to end in an uplifting way. “As Long As We Both Shall Live” did not.

Watching April wake up to find Leo gone hurt because it hit so close to home. After losing a close friend in a similar fashion, my biggest fear has been losing my own husband in that way. Nothing in life is certain. Death surrounds us, waiting to swoop in. No one is safe. That’s why it’s so important to live life to the fullest. Right before Leo passes, he and April have a beautiful night—one that neither of them knew was their last together. That’s what made this episode so gut wrenching yet so powerful.

You really just never know.

I love Chasing Life and have no plans to stop watching. I’m curious to see how April will make it through this tragedy, all while trying to recover from her second bout of cancer. I want to know why Uncle George shredded the manuscript. I want to see the blossoming relationship between Brenna and Finn continue to grow. And I want to see April finish her book.

If this show has taught me anything, it’s to love harder, to embrace life. Because we don’t always get to know the answers, and everything really can change in an instant.

Rest in peace, Leo. Thank you for being such a powerful character.

Five Years

via Unsplash

via Unsplash

Five years ago today, I lost my grandfather. Popi was one of the most important people in my life. He helped raise my sister and me. They say it takes a village to raise a child. We had my parents and my grandparents.

When Popi was diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t want to believe that it would eventually take him from us. I was in denial the entire time, until he was gone. Only then did I snap out of it. Heartbroken and raw, I struggled to accept the truth.

My grandfather wasn’t truly gone, though. He appeared in my dreams. A monarch butterfly—his favorite—kept visiting my family. His spirit, as my Noni kept telling me, lived on.

I can’t pretend to know what happens in the afterlife, but I do know one thing for sure. Real love is forever. It doesn’t die. Though my grandfather could be rough around the edges, he fiercely loved his family. The tender moments when he would hug me and tell me he loved me will stay with me forever. Sure, he was stubborn about some things, but he adored us all—especially his grandchildren.

I know that, if he were with us now, he would be so proud of all of us.

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