I believe that every day is a gift.
As a child, you believe that time passes slowly. As an adult, you can’t believe how fast time has actually passed. And somewhere in-between wishing to be older and wishing to be younger, you believe that time does not exist for you; you are invincible. This is the story of how my rose colored glasses of invincibility came off.
I met Tyler Copley when I was a sophomore in high school. Even though he was three years younger than me, we were both in our church’s youth choir. One Wednesday night at choir practice, Tyler came in on crutches with both his parents and our youth minister. He announced that after being in the hospital for a broken ankle, the doctors found a tumor in leg. He had been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, which is a type of bone cancer. We were reminded that we are not immortal and our adolescent belief of invincibility was shattered. We cried and prayed together and helped him battle his cancer for the next year as he underwent chemo and radiation treatments. When he went into remission after his treatments were over, we celebrated with him, not only because his cancer was gone, but also because we could feel invincible again.
Tyler’s cancer came back. He fought hard with chemo, radiation, experimental treatments, and even leg amputation, but nothing was working. His cancer finally found its way to Tyler’s lungs and we knew it wouldn’t be long. Tyler was brave even as he faced death, and he taught us to treasure every breath we take. Dealing with death is something that most teenagers experience through the loss of a grandparent or maybe a family friend. It is still hard to deal with, but it is easier because we all know that we grow old and die. But dealing with the loss of someone just like you, someone who was also invincible, in the prime of life, hits you hard. You begin to realize that nothing in life is guaranteed. Every day becomes cherished with a new sense of urgency to live life to the fullest, because who knows when you won’t be given that opportunity anymore. Tyler’s death was not in vain, because he taught me and everyone that was close to him that every day is a gift and it shouldn’t be wasted.
We are not promised tomorrow, so make today count.
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