Once again someone has come here looking for Alicia Parlette. Of course, what they are really looking for is Alicia and her cancer because the two are inseparable and lots of us were following the two of them down a road of Alicia's making. As I have written before, I don't know Alicia but she responded to the grimness of her disease and her diagnosis by writing about it (a response I could relate to), first for the San Francisco Chronicle, then, when she could no longer go to her job as a newspaper copy editor because of her cancer, on a blog. I was just one of many people following Alicia's story. Now, from time to time, people show up on my blog because Google brings them here because I once wrote about her and I know they are seeking any scrap of news because Alicia and her cancer are missing. They have been missing for a long time.
Alicia's blog started in March 2007 and lasted only a few months; we last heard from her in August 2007. She was waiting for a phone call from a friend who was supposed to find out that day if she had cancer too. Alicia was worried. Or as she wrote, "I don't know the details, but I know enough to be so scared I could vomit." She goes on to write about her cancer-wisdom (she said people like her find "true enlightenment by way of the Cancer Path."). It is the sort of writing that drew me to her. But she has been quiet since that 2007 blog entry.
And I wait here for her like a worried parent waiting for a daughter late in returning from an outing with her friends or a date, hoping for the best but fearing the worst (parents fear such things as if their fears will keep their children safe). But time passes and she does not return. And she does not call. As Alicia said of waiting by the phone to hear her friend's diagnosis: "...and with every chunk of an hour my stomach turns and knows the news is not good."
Alicia wrote in her last blog entry: "But there's something soothing about the clear moments right before the diagnosis, when disbelief and hope and that stubborn will to live align in just the right way -- when we see survival as not just an opportunity but a human right." I keep waiting, hoping. My mind is clear and my ears are keen to hear the sound of a car turning into the driveway or a key in the lock on the front door.
Sometimes people arrive at my blog by typing in "Alicia Parlette obituary" or "Alicia Parlette dead?"and I have typed those things in myself, not hoping for the worst for Alicia, but simply wanting to know what happened next in her life. Stories and lives are nothing more than that -- a few words about what happens next.