This I Believe

Brendan - Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Entered on September 12, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Death is the hardest thing ever. You can’t stop it. If you could, nobody would die.

In 2006, I lost two friends. First was Eva, the wife of my mom’s boss and one of our close friends. Eva had breast cancer for a while. The breast cancer left for five years. Usually after five years of not having breast cancer, breast cancer is called cured. Eva got it back and the breast cancer grew from level one to level three. My family was scared. They also found a tumor in her brain. After a couple of surgeries, it was gone…they thought. The cancer fell to level two. No headaches.

Over a period of time though, the breast cancer grew from a level four to level five. That night I had no clue. My mother didn’t tell me because my friend Evan was there. I wanted to have a sleepover, but wasn’t allowed to. That night during dinner, she broke the news. We were shocked. Everyone was. Eva’s husband and father of two couldn’t do his work for a while and took care of the kids.

Even though animals aren’t people, people can love them and care for them, like my pet gerbil, Mocha. When we moved to America, my mom let my sister and I have a pet. Not a big pet, but something small, like a rodent or something. My sister got her bunny first. I wanted a hamster, but after a while, I found out gerbils were awake during the day and asleep at night. None of the stores had gerbils. One of the workers at the store had three and told us we could have one. Four days later, I had him.

First I thought I’d call him Cappuccino because of the color of his fur. Then I thought that was too long. Mocha was short but I didn’t want to get rid of Cappuccino, so his full name is Mocha Cappuccino Reilly. We didn’t know how old he was when we got him.

On December 11th, I woke up and Mocha wasn’t moving. It just seemed like he was sick. I picked him up and by accident dropped him. He did a flip and fell on the ground. We brought him downstairs for the day. Mom said she’d take him to the exotic animal care. At ten a.m., Mocha died. My mom was with him the entire time. She said she could feel his heart beat speed up and stop. That day after school I was so scared. We got into the car. My mom said, “I’m sorry, Mocha died.” She left him in his cage so I could see him. After that, we buried him and used quartz to replace a tombstone.

Death is hard. But you shouldn’t put life on hold. Keep on going, you might miss something. Even though it’s hard, don’t let death rule your life. It’s going to happen to you or someone you know. Family and friends can help when you’re feeling down. They help!