Chelsea Detrick

Chelsea Detrick died on April 9, 2009. She was 24 years old. After a horrific 10-month struggle with cancer, her lungs and her will gave out. Her suffering is over. She is at peace.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, the video to the right attempts to capture in images some very small part of Chelsea’s life.

    Three things about the video:

  1. Chelsea was very happy with having been able to visit 33 states and 25 countries on 5 continents during her brief life. She said to me, “Well, dad, at least I got to see the world. Much more so than most people. Thank you for that.” Many pictures are of our travels.
  2. Near the end of the video you will see Oatmeal. I bought this stuffed hippo with/for Chelsea as we toured New York City in 1998. Chelsea slept with Oatmeal through her high school and college years as well as through the many months of cancer hell that we spent together. As her sole (and soul) caregiver, she willed Oatmeal to me and I now sleep with this symbol of Chelsea’s youth and her last year.
  3. Chelsea took and later named the last photo, of Puget Sound, when she arrived in Seattle to begin her new life after college. She was very proud of it.
“Do you have any idea of how powerful you really are? Do you have any idea of how far your thoughts reach? Do you have any idea of how many lives you’ve touched? Do you have any idea of how much you’ve accomplished? Do you?”

Mike Dooley, Notes from the Universe (p.2)

Chelsea from Liza Detrick on Vimeo.

In 2011, as a way of dealing with my grief I wrote and self-published a book. The back cover of the book reads:

“Adolescence and young adulthood can be confusing, complicated, difficult, demanding, trying, awkward, convoluted – just downright scary. Add in a tendency toward depression and then the ultimate horror, cancer. How does one deal with it all? Chelsea brings a mature (for a 24 year old) perspective to the challenges of life – and death. Her dad confronts (not easily) the difficulties of dealing with grief, positive ways to honor Chelsea, and the need for a parent to not wallow in self-pity. That is Chelsea’s Story: From the Other Side.

One paragraph from this book:

“I always liked the rain, particularly thunderstorms. I’m not sure if storms fitted my mood and personality, or helped create both. Rain had a certain radiant dreariness, a sense of foreboding, a serenity, a darkness yet a comfortable quietness, as if nature were brooding, fidgeting, showing its power and petulance – and expressing its ability to come down in a mist or a torrent upon whoever, whenever, wherever it wanted. Kind of like death. Or a forerunner thereto. Maybe that’s why I always liked the rain. Through rainfall I could almost see death coming, even if this was vague and imprecise when I was younger. Given the hell of the last year, I welcomed death’s arrival just as I welcomed storms and the grayness of Seattle.” Chelsea