The Value of Your Life

Jenna Greer - Fort Collins, Colorado
Entered on February 28, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, love
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Five years ago, my mom was one of the roughly two million women in the United States to be diagnosed with breast cancer. My mom was also one of the many to experience, firsthand, the effects of chemotherapy and radiation.

She went through the expected symptoms: hair loss, fatigue, and general discomfort. The chemo was fighting the cancer, with my mom’s body being the unfortunate bystander in the war.

My mom couldn’t get comfortable anywhere. She would sleep on one couch, get uncomfortable, go sleep on her bed, get uncomfortable once again, and move to a different couch. My dad couldn’t sleep on the bed with her because the extra heat he would generate kept her awake. This presented a problem: my dad loves my mother very much and didn’t like the idea of her being where he couldn’t watch over her. So he came up with a plan: he bought himself a mattress.

As my mom changed sleeping locations throughout the night, my dad picked up that little twin mattress and slept on it right beside her, just so he could be near her as she struggled through the war. Because of this, I think they both slept more soundly through the nights.

The idea behind a war is that sacrifices will be made to solve a greater problem. But a war without support is guaranteed defeat. Nobody can win on his or her own. Therefore, it is important to be thankful for those who stand by, through thick and thin. When the battle is over, as my dad once said, the value of your life is not measured by dollar signs, but rather by those who loved you.

Due to the treatments she endured and the efforts of her doctors, my mother’s cancer has been in remission for over four years. She and my dad are back in their regular bed, though I’m sure my father is ready to resume the battle if duty calls again.

I am now in my third year of college, and soon I’ll be done with school, ready to begin life as an adult. That’s a scary thought. I will soon be encountering new wars, new battles to be fought. But there are two encouraging thoughts. The first is that my mom and my dad plan to be around for many more years to come. Their support and love has and is an invaluable asset to my life. The second is that I will be discovering new support and love in the friends I have yet to make. I also happen to know that there’s a boy out there who will love me even if I kick him out of bed.

Jenna Greer lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. She is seeking a chemistry degree with a writing minor at Colorado State University and hopes to attend pharmacy school after graduation.