This I Believe

Melissa - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on December 28, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem, death

She lost her sight momentarily. She stopped, motionless, with her thin hand protectively over her naval under which a new life was growing. A few seconds later, her sight returned. She shrugged it off as an effect of the glare from the snow, but when the snow was gone, her problem wasn’t.

A few weeks later, I found myself sitting by the Wal-Mart pharmacy with my mother—not the most exciting place for a nine-year-old—waiting for a prescription. She turned and looked at me with a look in her eyes that I’d seen before but couldn’t really place. “Meng-meng,” she said. “There’s something important you should know.”

I interrupted her excitedly. “Mama, I already know. You’re having a girl! Baba told me.”

She frowned. What else could it be? I thought, confused. She took my hand, and said, “Meng-meng, the doctors found a tumor in my brain, and they…” Her voice faltered, and large droplets fell down her cheeks. She took a deep breath and tried again. “It’s already the fist-sized and still growing. The doctor said I need surgery, but there’s your little sister to think about…”

I was unsure what a tumor was exactly, but I knew that it was some illness, and from the pain I saw in my mom’s eyes, definitely life-threatening. Then, I remembered where I’d seen that look before, only a year earlier, when my grandfather passed away. I remembered the pain of losing family. I remembered the void his death left in our lived and our hearts.

Hot tears were running down my face then, as I sat on the cold hard bench at Wal-Mart, enclosed in my mother’s arms. I felt numb. Fear drenched me in a cold sweat; I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t talk, couldn’t move. We simply sat there, in the middle of Wal-Mart, and cried. Cried over the unpredictability of death, and the uncertainty of life.

The saying “you don’t miss it until it’s gone” couldn’t be truer. We lived the next few months as if they were our last, experiencing every emotion imaginable; laughter had its healing touch and crying its release. Fortunately, the only things Mama’s illness took from her were her tears; her left eye no longer produced those crystalline droplets after the surgery. Perhaps, it was God’s way of telling her to cry no longer, but be happy and enjoy life.

Life is so uncertain, as unpredictable as the wind. It is full of surprises. Some good. Some bad. Yet, it is this intangible quality of life makes it all the more worthwhile. Every day, every minute, every of existence is too valuable to be thrown away, tossed into the wind of days gone by without having been fully lived and enjoyed. I’ve learned to love life, appreciating everything it has to offer: family, friends, laughter, and the occasional tears.

I believe in living life to the fullest. You never know what’s down the road around the corner of time. The future makes no promises.