Charli Mills asked her CarrotRanch guests to write 99 words about smiling through a terrible situation.


Written by Kerry E.B. Black


Helen’s gown fell from her shoulder without a pretense at the provocative. Nobody looked “hot” in a hospital gown. Her bare feet padded behind the attendant, obedient little slaps against linoleum. She pushed aside words like cancer and focused on complying with tests. She held uncomfortable positions, battled fatigue, and ignored a mounting terror that threatened to ambush her optimism. When she closed her eyes to a painful injection, her children’s smiles greeted her. She recalled their soft skin and their silky hair as she sung them to sleep. For them, she would fight and win. She smiled, renewed.