I believe life is unfair and through my own personal experiences I have come to this conclusion. For example, people who don’t deserve good things get them, and people who do work hard aren’t always rewarded. The experience that hit my life was when my dad got lymphoma, a form of cancer. He also has diabetes, stomach problems and an auto-immune disease. It’s unfair he got all these problems because he’s tried to stay decently healthy all his life and is a good person, always around to help people. My aunt, on the other hand, is severely overweight – about three hundred pounds – but never had a health problem. I believe that her weight issue is her fault because she chooses to eat that much, therefore she should be the one with the health issues and not my dad who has tried to maintain his health.
My dad was diagnosed when I was in fourth grade but it feels like it was twenty years ago. He hasn’t exactly had long remission periods, except for recently, so the cancer’s gone for now. That’s really the most I know. What I remember is just memories of seeing him bald around the house and finding a photo of him in a hospital bed hooked up to a bunch of tubes and machines. Otherwise, I was sort of put in the dark about it all. I think it was because I was a kid. That’s another thing that’s unfair: I had no idea what was going on with my own father, and still don’t really. I tried asking my mom once because I think it’s a sore subject for my dad, and she didn’t give me too many details, just facts about the disease, but not about him.
My aunt is in her forties. She can barely walk sometimes because there is too much weight and pressure put on her knees but she has no diseases. I feel like someone who’s so overweight and doesn’t take care of herself should be the one with diabetes or something, not my dad. But I guess it evens out eventually.
The whole situation just puts a lot of stress on my family. My dad, with his stomach problems, can’t eat meat like he used to. He can only eat small portions otherwise he’ll vomit. My mom always warns him saying, “Sven, you can’t eat that. Stop.” But Dad doesn’t listen and keeps eating until he’s sick, to spite himself. He tries to prove he can do it. That means for the next three days he’ll be as sick as a dog and my mom is the one who has to take care of him. It’s caused a lot of anxiety and stress for my mom and me, to watch it all happen. That’s only one of the problems my family deals with. Honestly, it sucks and I wish life could be a little bit easier, but don’t we all?
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.