I remember the day well. April 28, 2003. The day after my eleventh birthday. Nobody picked me up from school. Eventually, my grandma came to get me and she told me the bad news. We ventured to the hospital – a trip I had not made in ten years. My father lay in a bed with tubes and monitors all over him, doing their best to cover up his yellow, bruised skin. When I first saw him, I thought he was going to die. I think my seven-year old brother saw it too. The doctors said he had only a twenty percent chance to live.
For about a week after the initial blow, my whole family was dysfunctional. Finally, my mom decided to be the stable force. We all sat down together in my dad’s hospital room and talked about how we were going to be strong and get through. We did everything we could think of to get him better, taking him to countless doctors’ offices, hospitals, cancer clinics, and test centers. My mom was wonderful throughout those three years, never losing her composure despite the trying task of caring for a dying husband. She kept repeating that my dad could not, would not, die. She taught us hope during that time. Some may say she was in denial, but her hope got our family through the hardest years we had yet faced. She never gave up fighting for him.
After relocating to Georgia, my dad was diagnosed with hemachromotosis, a hereditary blood disease that attacks the liver. He got a liver transplant on November 3rd, 2005. Despite the eighteen various pills he has to take daily, he is a perfectly healthy, normal man. I learned that hope kept my dad alive and it also saved my family. Because of my mom’s hope that my dad would survive, we all survived.
I kept that same hope when my mom got sick in 2006. She ended up dying of unknown causes, but now I hope that life for me will improve. The hope my mother taught me gave me optimism – the key to happiness. Everybody’s goal in life, directly or indirectly, is to be happy. I believe that one day I will be happy because I believe in hope.
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