This I Believe

Kaitlin - Berlin, Connecticut
Entered on May 8, 2007

This I Believe

I believe people are lucky. I believe I am one of those people. No, I’ve never won the lottery, met a really famous person, or am living my dream life, but I am lucky. My parents are still married, I have a wonderful family, and I am not living paycheck to paycheck. I am lucky. I still have all four grandparents living, aunts and uncles galore, cousins, friends, and a home. I am lucky. I have a job, a car, and I am going to college. I am lucky. I am lucky not for the material things I have, but because I have the things that matter most. I have a family, friends, and health. Sure, there are days when things don’t seem to be going my way, but I always think, there is always someone out there struggling more than me.

Last year, my best friend’s mom was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. Her tumor lay on her stomach the size of a basketball. She spent her daughter’s graduation day in a wheelchair. Her name was Sandy. Diagnosed in June, gone in September.

My friend would call me everyday as her mom began to get sicker and sicker. “I can’t take it anymore!” she would say. She would leave her house panicking, knowing the end was coming soon, and she would no longer have a mother. She would come over my house at midnight, and not leave until 2am. She never wanted to be home, to see the mom she loved so much being eaten away by a killer. One night she came over, she had had a really rough day. I decided to invite over our other best friend. Together, we sat in my room, talked about life, and made get well cards for her mom. We signed the cards, your daughter, your other daughter, and your other other daughter.

Throughout Sandy’s struggle, friends of the family would cook meals for Sandy’s family. We also built a wheelchair ramp at Sandy’s house, so it would be easier for her to get to doctor’s appointments. All of this would help, but just not enough. My mom used to go over their house while the kids were out and their father was at work. She would come home quiet and wouldn’t tell me anything because she knew I would cry. The life of Sandy was being taken away. There was nothing I could do but help keep the tears away. The last time I went to their house before Sandy died, I heard Sandy scream, “I don’t want to die! I’m too young to die!” She went on to say, she wanted to be there for her children. There was nothing she could do. As the cancer progressed it became harder for Sandy to talk, eat, or even stay awake. She could no longer stand on her own, or even be left alone for fear something would go wrong. At one of my mom’s last visits to the house, Sandy told my mom, all she wanted to do was drive her son to soccer practice, get some gas in the car, or go buy a loaf of bread. She would give anything to stand in line at a store instead of being glued to a chair against her will.

A few days before Sandy’s passing, my friend came over, crying and a mess. She had left her house mad at life because she knew, her mom would be gone in less than a week. When my friend got to my house, I called her mom’s cell phone. I said to her, “I just wanted to let you know, Michelle is here with me, Lori, and Julie. She is fine, we will take care of her.” Sandy said in reply, “Kaitlin, you are such a great friend. Thank you!” This would be the last time I would hear Sandy’s voice. The last time I talked to her, she thanked me for looking after her daughter. I am lucky. Sandy died less than a week later. I have our laughs, tears, and memories to hold on to . I am lucky.

I believe a person does not need fortune or material things to be considered lucky. We need life, friends, and happiness. I have my good health, my friends, and family, and for this, I am lucky. The next time you go to the store and you are aggravated because you are standing in the longest line, think of Sandy. Think of how she would give anything to stand in that line. We have nothing to complain about, we are all lucky as long as we have life. We have friends and family, these are the necessities to be considered lucky.