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Tom - Melbourne, Australia
Entered on June 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks

“You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live.”- Joan Baez

A four year old boy who had cancer lay dying in a hospital room surrounded by his family. The curtains were drawn, the room was dark and clearly there was a lot of sadness in the room. The boy was expected to die in the next few days. The parents and other family members had red rings under their eyes; you could tell they had been crying. Nobody was speaking and it was very quiet. The music therapist, who had previously worked with the boy when he was well and knew him quite well, walked in and began to play his favourite song. The boy opened his eyes and smiled. It seemed that the adults in the room had taken for granted that because he was dying he could no longer participate in life. But this was not the case at all. The boy was still living and didn’t focus on the little time he had left, he just lived life in the present, he smiled innocently and the previously dull and sad faces around him started to smile too. Suddenly there was life in the room. The boy died a few days later but his last days were lived well. The parents had quality time with him and his last few days had been a time of enjoyment rather than sorrow.

Life can be taken away or altered significantly in a matter of seconds, it is not always self inflicted, it is rarely done intentionally and quite a lot of the time there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. But just because life can be taken away so easily does not mean that you should spend your life worrying about what could happen or what has happened, in fact it means quite the opposite. Life should be lived to its fullest while it is still there. No matter how bad things are, no matter how many people die no matter how many times you hurt yourself, no matter what happens there is always a positive.

The little boy wasn’t focusing on the fact he was dying he was too busy enjoying life while he had it. He wasn’t thinking why did it have to be me or life is unfair, no, he was thinking aren’t I lucky to be listening to “we all know frogs go ladidadida”. Too many people take for granted what they have and do not appreciate the life they live. They are too rapped up in their “problems” and do not stop to think of others around them that might be in need as well.

“We have no right to ask when a sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every joy that comes our way.” There are so many more stories that, similar to this one, did not focus on the negative but on the positive. People can learn a lot from these stories.

Not all stories have a happy ending but that does not mean their stories can’t contain happiness.