I believe in the strength of the human soul, no matter how weak, delicate or young the body may be. I have never spoken to or even met my sister Diane, yet her bravery in death has guided me in life and has made my afflictions seem trivial. She was diagnosed with leukemia as an infant and died at four years of age, a year before I was born.
In my four years in high school, I couldn’t help but to minimize the complaints of my classmates, not because I didn’t empathize with their concerns, but because when I protested or heard complaints, I thought of the strength it took for Diane to spend her only four years battling one of man’s most deadly enemies with an ear-to-ear grin. When I look at her beaming and radiant picture, taken a few weeks before she died, it’s not so important to me whether I get an A on a test.
When I imagine how it would feel to spend every Christmas in a hospital bed surrounded by doctors and nurses, I realize I didn’t really have to have that present. When I watch a video of her dancing and strutting before a mirror with a wig after a chemotherapy treatment, my bad haircut really isn’t that bad.
I believe in the undying love of a parent for their child, who at four years old is more familiar with the cancer ward than the living room. I believe in the undying power of parental love even in the face of an invisible, odorless, colorless and relentless killer. I believe that every child should be able to go to sleep each night knowing they’re going to wake up. I believe that I should try to live my life with same fortitude and courage that Diane showed in her four short years, so when I finally do get to meet her, I can at least look her in the eye.
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