More Hard Days Ahead

Megan - Jacksonville, Florida
Entered on October 20, 2011
Themes: courage
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe that the strength in ourselves is only shown when it neeeds to be. I haven’t had a particularly hard life. Although my parents are no longer together, I am thankful to have a close relationship with both of them. Through much of my life, I’d never really been put in difficult situations, so my courage had never really been tested. Of course, that was before my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

When my mother told me about her breast cancer, I didn’t want to believe it. I was convinced that my life was going to end. I was afraid that the moment cancer came into our lives, only pain and

death would follow. I knew nothing about cancer and the treatments, so I didn’t know what to expect.

I had re-enacted the next day at work and how I would slap on a fake smile for all of my coworkers to see. I’d pretend that I would be brave and not worry and not think of the worst. I walked in the office and fell apart; how could I pretend that everything was okay? I cried in the bathroom at least once every hour for the whole day. I remember thinking to myself, “How am I supposed to talk to customers with a chipper voice and a bright smile?” I was convinced that I wasn’t going to last the whole day. Somehow, I managed to get by. And after that long day, I knew there would be more hard days ahead.

I came to realize that the days were even worse. I had never experienced any other illnesses in the family. I hardly knew what the procedures would be for my mother. The only thing that I was positive about was I had to be there. I had to be the last person she would see before going under and the first person that she would see when she woke up. My heart was breaking at the thought that one moment might be the last time I’d see her. Of course, I would never tell her that; I had to be strong.

Even if I didn’t want to leave her side, I still had to be strong for her. After her double mastectomy, I was there, sitting with her as she got her chemotherapy sessions taken care of. I felt like during these times, when she was at her weakest, I was the one that had to be strong.

This was two years ago, but it feels like it all just happened last week. I am thankful for the strength I never knew I had. Now I know, if something terrible ever happens again, I will have enough strength in me to deal with it. I will have the courage to face more hard days ahead. Strength and courage are crucial during tough situations, this I believe.