[National Magazine Awards finalist, 2012] A family’s difficult journey after discovering their youngest daughter has a brain tumor: 

He would remove the tumor, and we would find out what kind it was only after the pathology report. ‘But it looks like a teratoid,’ he said. I didn’t comprehend the word ‘teratoid,’ either—it was beyond my experience, belonging to the domain of the unimaginable and incomprehensible, the domain into which Dr. Tomita was now guiding us.

Isabel was asleep in the recovery room, motionless, innocent. Teri and I kissed her hands and her forehead and wept through the moment that divided our life into before and after. Before was now and forever foreclosed, while after was spreading out, like an exploding twinkle star, into a dark universe of pain.

“The Aquarium.” — Aleksandar Hemon, The New Yorker, June 13, 2011

See also: “A Family Learns the True Meaning of ‘in Sickness and in Health’.” Susan Baer, Washington Post, Jan. 5, 2012