I believe in never giving up even when some challenges seem impossible.
When I was just a little boy, I never understood the reason why my aunt cried when her breast hurt. I never understood why she was bald. I never understood why she just lay in her bed without saying a word. I guess it sort of saddened me. I never understood why, it just did. Every time she got up, she would have this unpleasant moan that made her seem distraught and heart broken. I quizzically looked at her while this happened and tried to identify what she felt. I just didn’t get it. I was lost in thought; taken by the emotions that I never recognized. I felt like a new dog staring at its owner in confusion when its owner is telling him to sit or fetch. Maybe I was young. Maybe I was immature. Maybe I was ignorant. But when I think back, it didn’t even matter. It doesn’t even matter.
The only wish I had is to relive those moments knowing what was happening to her so I could help. But as I grew older, I reflected on it some more and noticed that it was good that I was young because it made her happy that I was a young, ignorant bundle of joy. One weekend, my family and me visited her in San Francisco where she works and lives. I was dying to see her because she is one of the greatest aunts alive. Right when I stepped through her door her face lit up like Christmas morning and mine did too. We quickly grabbed each other and spent all weekend together having a blast. But when I got on that one-hour flight back to Santa Monica, it hit me. I asked myself, why is she so happy? How could she possibly have the strength to even hug my body? Once again, I was in deep confusion. I was mad, frustrated, and most of all, sad. I cried. I cried hard. I wanted to comprehend what the hell was going on. I had to go to my mom for guidance and I asked her: “Why is auntie Mi-K so happy to see us even though she is sick?” My mom smiled gently and simply said, “Because she loves us. Because she works hard. Because she only has one life to live.” I finally understand.
When challenges seem impossible, we have to battle hard through the pain, sickness, and suffering because when we come out victorious, life is every positive and happy word in the dictionary. Today, whenever I see my aunt Mi-K, I give her a gigantic hug and say three words, “I love you.” My aunt had breast cancer. She didn’t deserve it but it was in her life. It is unfair but life is unfair and it’s filled with trials and tribulations that we must overcome.
It is funny that my aunt is now sitting on a million dollar business living a dream and can say, “Cancer? Yeah, I conquered it a long time ago and it felt fantastic doing it.” I will never forget what my mom said because what she said is true; we all only have one life. So why waste our lives feeling like cancer when we can feel triumphant?
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.