F ROM T HE E DITOR SPRING 2018 Welcome to the Spring 2018 issue of Months To Years! It was at Stanford that I began writing about living with We are delighted to bring you another issue of thoughtful the idea of death. My first husband, Ahmad, had been creative nonfiction and poetry about death, dying, and diagnosed with Stage IV bladder cancer. Writing became mortality from 28 contributors. We are privileged to a source of comfort and inspiration. I began attending include their work and we were again awed by the quality Stanford’s Writing Your Cancer Journey, a writing group for and volume of submissions we received. Thank you to patients and caregivers. I continued to attend even after all who submitted! We hope these selected stories will Ahmad passed away. And it was sometime in either late resonate with you and, perhaps, inspire you to write your 2014 or early 2015 that I met Mal Schoen. own. Mal was coping with Stage IV colon cancer and was in This issue includes a diversity of voices including a 30-year- remission when he first joined the group. He attended old hospice volunteer (Small Talk With the Dying, by Ben regularly and contributed heartfelt, quirky, and often Shaberman), a former palliative care doctor who heard humorous reflections on the trajectory of his life since his a patient’s deathbed confession about a KKK murder he diagnosis. He often (as did many of us) read his work witnessed (Hanged, by Paul Rousseau), a woman reunited aloud for the group. I remember one piece in which he with her estranged father after he found out he was reflected on his last so-called normal day of work (and not dying of cancer (Slipping Through The Cracks, Kimberly realizing it was the last such day at the time) just before his Nichols), a reflection on clearing out a parents’ house (Her diagnosis. His writing, like his personality, came across as Things, by Alice Fogel), two wives who lost their husbands authentic and straightforward: he wrote what he felt in all (Scarred, by Milissa Link and Cinco de Mayo, by Jeanne its dark humor, frustration, and confusion. He wrote often Omans), as well as a wife navigating her husband’s last about the kindness of others: his family, his doctor, his days while reflecting on her own life (Are You Happy? by nurses. He expressed a deep appreciation for the people Lynne Rothrock). who were helping him stay alive. We are also excited to announce a new collaboration I can’t remember exactly the last time I saw Mal but it was with the Stanford Scope blog. Produced by the Stanford probably sometime in 2017 at the writing group. It was University School of Medicine and founded in 2009, another of those many “lasts” that we don’t recognize as Scope is an award-winning blog that offers news and lasts until after the fact. I was very saddened to learn that features about the latest advances in medicine and Mal died in February of this year. health. It also sometimes features patients and doctors’ storytelling. Each month Scope will feature an excerpt of one writing selection from Months To Years on its website.