Ann is an essential existential hero in several other ways. Her incredible power to stay in the present moment and not look too far ahead is easier imagined than performed. When we consider that she is merely 23, it goes to show her maturity beyond her age. Her tactful and mature handling of her relationship with her parents needs to be appreciated. One of the list of 10 things she sets to complete before her death is to meet her father in prison. This is a tough decision for her for obvious reasons. Seeing her father brings back many troubling memories. When added to the imminence of her death, the lacuna in the unfulfilled parent-child relationship expands even further. Yet, Ann did not opt the easy way out. Meeting her father is a way of achieving closure to their relationship. It was the most profound of goodbyes although Ann had the extraordinary tenacity to not reveal her health condition.
Likewise, Ann mends her fractious relation with her mother. Despite her curt responses and disapproving demeanor Ann’s mother is a good person at heart. Her problems are a matter of improper expression and lack of tactfulness. It is a testimony to Ann’s resourcefulness that she performs a reversal of the mother-daughter roles. And by doing so brings a semblance of harmony in the relationship, although it was to be only enjoyed for a brief period. This internal monologue by Ann is quite instructive: “Try and be patient with her [Ann’s mother], okay? She… she is a good person even if it doesn’t always seem that way. She’s… none of the things she always dreamed about ever came true, you know? Try and understand her. Don’t let her make you mad.”
In conclusion, Ann is by all counts a strong existential hero. The shocking news of her diagnosis with cancer ‘wakes’ her up from the ‘dream’ world in which she had been living. This awakening prompts her to create new meanings for her existence. Ann adapts to the absurd universe she inhabits by focusing on tasks that she could accomplish. Ann carries on her existential journey by steadfastly focusing on the here and now. In her heart-felt love for her children and her husband her authentic self is revealed. She shows herself to be a sensitive young woman who is able to show warmth and humanity toward those closest to her. Her whirlwind romance with Lee is an act out of character and is hence inauthentic. But all things considered, the ability of Ann to do all the right things even with the approaching pall of gloom, make her a veritable existential hero.